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Fish Oils

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

So, you wanna talk about mmothh… fish oils? Good, me too! 😊

There are a tonne of benefits from ensuring omega 3 fish oils are part of your diet. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA which are the magic makers behind all the great health and performance (yes, so to athletes reading this you should take notes) benefits of eating oily fish or by supplementing with fish oils.

Ok, so in what way are they good for us?

Fish oils:

  • Reduce inflammation in the body that may be induced by exercise or other environmental stressors
  • Support immune function and joint health (a lot more evidence supporting fish oils compared to glucosamine for joint health FYI)
  • Improves our thinking ability
  • Compliments the benefits of strength training
  • Reduces heart rate at sub-maximal exercise intensities

Another reason that Omega 3’s are important in our diets in this day and age is because the majority of the food we eat are high in Omega 6 fatty acids. This is associated with many health implications such as different cancers and cardiovascular diseases for example.

The beauty about fish oils is that you can get enough EPA and DHA from your diet but here’s the catch (forgive me, no pun intended), you need to eat 3-4 portions of oily fish per week.

I get that fish isn’t for everyone and that 3-4 portions/week mightn’t be achievable for us also, in that case you may want to consider a supplement? Fish oils are sold in most local supermarkets so if this is something you decide to do that’s a good place to look. When it comes to dosage, an intake of 2000mg, twice daily, each intake to be accompanied by a meal.  It is important to note that the health and performance benefits mentioned above occur over a few weeks so don’t be disheartened if you’re not seeing immediate improvements.

Ok so the above is all grand but what about those of us that don’t ‘do’ fish or fish oils? Algae omega 3 oil is a great alternative for my vegan and vegetarian friends as it contains a great source of EPA and DHA too. Flaxseed oil has been recommended countless times because it contains a fatty acid called ALA (alpha linolenic acid) which our bodies convert to EPA and DHA. However, it turns out we aren’t actually very good at this hence why algae omega 3 oil is a better option for vegans and vegetarians alike. And you thought I was forgetting about you!

So hopefully from this piece you can identify that Omega 3 Fatty Acids have a very important role in our diets. I will always recommend food first but no harm done for those of us who need a helping hand every now and again!

FYI – Examples of the fish that are the oily ones:

  • Anchovies
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Herrings
  • Tuna steak

Kate

 

Where I got some of the above info from (aka references):

  • Doughman S.D, Krupanidhi S. and Sanjeevi C.B, 2007. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Nutrition and Medicine: Considering Microalgae Oil as a Vegetarian Source of EPA and DHA. Current Diabetes Reviews (3): 198-203.
  • JW Alexander, 1998. Immunonutrition: The Role of Omega-3 fatty acids (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9684267)
  • Simopoulos A.P, 2002. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential amino acids, Biomed Pharmacother (56): 365–379

Vitamin D

“Somebody gotta give you some vitamin D”

With large food companies quickly recognising the importance of Vitamin D we even have the likes of Ludacris on this band wagon with the release of his song ‘Vitamin D’. So now you know, it must be important right?  So much so that Mr. TY Dolla Sign felt he needed to get on involved too (if you have never heard of these too, it’s ok, you’re not missing out).

As the song goes “somebody gotta give you some vitamin D” and for most of us, the boys weren’t wrong there! A lot of us, are deficient in vitamin D3 and we don’t even realise it! Vitamin D3 is also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ because the sunshine is exactly where we get it from! Unfortunately for us living in Ireland or in countries of similar climates, we don’t get to see much of that yellow circle in the sky thus we run the risk of becoming deficit.

 

What difference does a little deficiency make? Well, Vitamin D3 supports bone and joint health, immune function by promoting the production of proteins which in turn protects our bodies from unwanted microorganisms, it improves energy levels, recovery from exercise as well as muscle function. So, as you can see, vitamin D3 is pretty important for us all!

Now, this is not a push to run and book a sun holiday, although if this is the excuse you’ve been waiting for, don’t let me stop you! However, I just wanted this short article to get you thinking about Vitamin D and the important role it has to play on our health. If possible, I would recommend getting your vitamin D levels tested with your GP. If testing isn’t possible, a maintenance dose of 2500IU for the average adult is a good place to start (a lot of supplements only provide capsules of 1,000IU so this is something to be aware of). If your vitamin D levels are below average, doses can range between 5,000-10,000IU so that is why it is important to get checked if you’re at all in doubt.

As I mentioned before, I am not a massive pusher of supplements however this, along with fish oils (reasons can be found in the article on Omega 3’s, only for those who do not eat 4 portions of oily fish/week), are the only two supplements that I would recommend that people consider when focusing on optimising their health.

I hope you have enjoyed this article, as Luda so eloquently put it “I just want you to stay healthy in these streets”.

Kate

 

 

Where I got the above info from (aka references):

  • Diane L. Kamen and Vin Tangpricha, 2011. Vitamin D and molecular actions on the immune system: modulation of innate and autoimmunity
  • Constantini NW1, Arieli R, Chodick G, Dubnov-Raz G, 2010. High prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency in athletes and dancers.
  • Holick H.F., Binkley N.C., Bischoff-Ferrari H.A., Gordan C.M., Hanley D.A., Heaney R.P., Murad M. H. and Weaver C. M, 2011. Evaluation, Treatment and Prevention of Vitamin D Deficiency: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 96 (7): 1911-1930