There aren’t many supplements that are necessary while pursuing a health and fitness plan. This is an especially difficult point to get across in an industry where supplement companies promise results on par with anabolics from various supplements with no scientific research to back them up. It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars a month while seeing no real benefit from any of the supplements you’re taking. There are very few supplements that offer almost universal benefits for a reasonable price. One of the items on this short list is fish oil, and chances are you should be taking it.
The health benefits of fish oil are heavily supported by scientific research, with benefits including improvements in body weight and composition, speedier recovery from muscle soreness, reduced inflammation (translation=less injuries/faster recovery/fewer health complications), reduced blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, reduced blood triglycerides, increased insulin sensitivity, reduced cortisol, anti-oxidant properties, “blood thinning” properties (decreased platelet aggregation) and a range of improvements in cognitive properties such as reductions in depression, anxiety and even ADHD in children.
Given the long list of benefits of fish oil, the relatively low cost (~$10 for a bottle of 300-400 from your local big box store or online retailer) makes it well worth the investment. Daily intake varies depending on activity level, body weight and other values (people who eat fish regularly don’t need to take as much as those who rarely eat fish) but general recommendations range in the 2-4g EPA/DHA per day. EPA/DHA are the Omega-3 fatty acids that give fish oil it’s health benefits. An average 1000mg capsule of fish oil only contains about 300mg of EPA/DHA, requiring an intake of 6-10 capsules per day to achieve the 2-4g recommendation. There’s no need to take 2x or 3x strength fish oils (they’re usually more expensive per mg of EPA/DHA) or “low mercury” fish oils (mercury attaches to the protein tissues in fish, it is not suspended in their oils.) You’ll have to decide what dose of fish oil is right for you and calculate how many capsules you need to take daily, but even a few capsules a day is better than none. Of all supplements on the market, this is one of the few that can live up to the hype. Give it a shot, your body will thank you.
Further reading on fish oil at examine.com