Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fish n Flax

Hey all, I'm back, though just a little bit dumber from attending yet another army course. Found all your questions so I'll hit them one at a time:

Most fish oil in Australia is of a good purified quality. Though little in the way of contaminants such as heavy metals are going to be found in farmed fish oil supps, they are all screened anyway. The level of purification will then simply effect the amount of EPA/DHA per tablet. E.g your standard tab from the chemist has a total of 300mg EPA/DHA per 1000mg tablet, others can have up to 1100mg per tab, though these are more expensive. High quality oils from wild caught fish have more EPA/DHA and some vitamins such as A & D, and can be better tasting. Nordic Naturals is probably the best brand and comes from, Norway. It offers liquid oils which has 1375mg EPA/DHA per serve, and concentrated tablets. Other standard brands from the chemist/health food shop all seem to be fine.

As discussed in the first fish oil post, there are a ton of effects which primarily boil down to the effect on eicosanoid production. Check the last post for a ref that briefly describes a whole list of proven effects. Are the effects significant? Well depends how you look at it, I would say that reducing chronic inflammation and therefore the main cause of many chronic diseases is very significant. But these are un-measurable to most people not in a lab, which is why, though popular, supping fish oil is still not completely mainstream nutrition. I can assure you the effects will be apparent over a period of time when less illnesses are present, reduced recovery and perhaps the most significant for performance is an increase in VO2 max, due to greater viscosity (or fluidity) of the blood.

As far as giving it to your young child, there is no harm in that at all. I give my 3 1/2 year old 2 tabs in the morning and 2 in the evening and have done so for over a year. She also likes tuna, smoked salmon and fish whenever we give it to her. For an infant still being breast fed, eating fish at other times and with the mother on fish oil, supping may not be necessary as breast milk contains a lot of N-3. Once feeds stop you can add 1-2 tabs per day.

Using flax seeds as a source of N-3 is a bit of a tradition among nutritionists as it also contains some vitamins and minerals, as well as a bit of N-3. However if you are trying to reach the 1-3gm per day of EPA/DHA for just a maintenance dose, flax is not a good option. The N-3 in flax seed oil has shorter carbon chain than EPA or DHA. The process of turning these fatty acids into eicosanoids requires elongation of the chain among other changes. As the chain in flax seed oil is already shorter this severely restricts the conversion stages and very little of the N-3 actually ends up getting stored in the cells for eicosanoid usage later on. The conversion rate is around 6% total usage and women are slightly more efficient at the conversion than men, not enough to make a difference though (ref). The ration of N-3/6/9 in flax is unimportant in its usage; in fact, supplying N-6 with the N-3 will simply slow the conversion down even further. N-9 is mono-unsaturated fat (oleic acid, such as that in olive oil) and has no effect on the N-3:N-6 balance as it does not follow the same metabolic pathway. Remember we are trying to reduce N-6 as much as possible/practicable, and increase N-3 intake. There will always be ample N-6 in our diet as it is present in many foods, especially animal products (which we should be eating a lot of), so there is no danger of not getting enough N-6 at all.

Flax also turns rancid very quickly, so if you are going to use it, store the whole seeds in the fridge and only get out the amount you wish to use. Grind the seeds (in a coffee grinder or proceser) and use immediately. Pre-ground seeds from the shop are probably rancid already or will do as soon as you have opended the pack for a few days, try get those vacum sealed in a foil container from the health food shop. Store these in the fridge as well..

To help the fishy reflux try storing your fish oil tabs in the fridge and take the tablets half way through a meal (with not to much water). Or high quality liquid oil such as Nordic Naturals has a good rep for not having any aftertaste/repeating.

Allrighty, thanks for the questions, I have one of my own:
Trying to think up a good name for my nutrition business. I have a few options or any other contirbution would be great.
- Primal Plate
- Naturally Nutritious
- Evolution Nutrition


MickB said...

Thanks for the advice Steve, there is so much information out there on nutrition and it's not always easy to sort the crap from the good stuff, I’ve only just started delving into the Paleo way of living, it makes perfect sense however converting from a life time of grain eating is not easy and converting my partner is even harder. It’s a great help to read info from people who obviously have put a lot more research in and can relay it to the general public, Your efforts are appreciated.

Personally I like “Primal Plate” but I think “Naturally Nutritious” is more marketable and would appeal to a wider range of people that are probably not aware of the Paleo / Primal movement.

robin said...

Thanks Steve, for some great info, I'd better get back on the fish oil! I'll try what you said, take them half way through the meal to reduce the fishy after taste.

Oh and I like Naturally Nutritious or Evolution Nutrition for your business name.

I'm sure you will be very successful.

Brett_M/30/181cm/84kg said...

Good to hear you are back mate - Thanks for attacking those q's my nutrition knowledge is way too lacking.

One week into CFLC only 3 to go :)

Steve_M/26/171cm/72kg said...

hey brett I forgot about the CFLC, hows it all going?? give me a call if you need a hand with lessons.

thanks for the comments guys, much appreciated. Bring on the questions...