Thursday, 31 January 2013

Something Fishy...

So it's the last day in January, are all of those resolutions still in check?! Has the chocolate been avoided? The gym membership been worth it and what seems to have been the most popular - a month away from the drink! Well done to those who have managed to complete it, bad luck to those who 'failed' in their attempts. January is only one month in the year, so you have another 11 to think of another challenge or goal to test yourself.

I wanted to post a little bit about supplements this week. The Oxford Dictionary defines a supplement as 'A thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.' That's exactly what it should be, something added. In my view, too many people rely on supplements to get their recommended daily dosages. I can understand the attraction, they're easy and it doesn't exactly take much preparation to pop a couple of pills. However a supplement should do exactly that, supplement! Supplement a solid nutritional base which is packed with lots of veggies, lean meats and quality carbohydrate sources. As the definition states, it's their to enhance not to rely on.

Supplements are a massive market, back in 2004 the muscle supplement industry was worth £70.2 million in the UK alone, in 2009 that figure had increased to £91m. So going on that current trend, we can assume that it's worth over £100m, and that's just 'muscle' supplements so protein powders, creatines, pre-workout stimulants, fat 'strippers' (not the kind that you would find in a dodgy establishments somewhere on the darker streets of most cities). This figure doesn't include other health supplements, one in particular that I want to talk about today, fish oil, or more specifically Omega 3.

Fish oil is slowly getting the recognition that is deserves as it is getting more and more media attention. New studies coming out pretty much daily, which show the health benefits of this great product. These include:

Reducing Inflammation

Inflammation can trigger disease, obesity, illness and a delayed recovery from injury. It's a pretty nasty term that is often caused by making the wrong food choices and poor lifestyle habits (smoking, excessive alcohol consumption). Fish oil helps to speed up the detoxification process, which will aide cellular health and as a result, make you feel better and leaner.

Improve Cognitive Function and Reduce Depression

More and more evidence is suggesting that depression could be a cause of reduced levels of Omega 3. By taking a fish oil supplement, you would be helping to banish depression and also aid mental clarity as a result.

Help You Lose Bodyfat

Probably the main reason why people may now sit up and take notice. Fish oil provides essential fats that the body can't produce on its own. Fish oil doesn't turn into fat when it's in the body, instead the fish oil is used to build an outside fat layer that helps to protect our cells. Although any fat can be used for this function, the cell will function the most efficiently if the fat comes from a fish oil as it improves the activity of the hormone insulin. If you have poor insulin sensitivity, then you will find it tough losing that stubborn bodyfat. Fish oil will help aid the insulin transportation system and as a result, help shift the bodyfat.

So there are 3 pretty big factors as to why you should take a fish oil supplement, to supplement the fresh fish that you should already be eating.

I suppose the next question would be 'which fish oil do I buy?!'

The market is flooded with a huge variety of fish oils, all boasting brilliant health properties and why you should chose their product over their competitor. A couple of tips that I would recommend is to look at the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) levels. These are two Omega 3 fatty acids that are found in cold-water fish. Look for products that are high in strength for both of these fatty acids, where there should be more EPA than DPA.

Also, stay away from products that instruct you to leave them in the fridge. This signals a poor quality product that is unstable. An unstable fish oil can cause oxidative stress on the body and actually end up doing more harm than good!

The actual fish oil liquid is of stronger potency than the capsule format. Many try to hide the unsavory taste of the oil by adding flavourings, however, I don't think this helps mask the pretty grim taste, but it's good for you and can be washed down in the morning with a glass of water!

Two products that I would recommend are The Eskimo series from Nutri and the Omega 3 range from aliment nutrition. I'm not getting any royalties from endorsing these products, it's just a matter of my own opinion, although it would be nice for a bit of a side-earner!

Eskimo products are sustainable and are sourced off the coast of Peru, you will struggle to find a capsule that has more strength. They contain natural anti-oxidant compounds that help to stabilise the fish-oil and they pride themselves on the purity of the product.

Aliment nutrition again, has a strong product with healthy levels of EPA and DHA, they also won't break the bank. It's a reliable company that has a growing reputation for delivering quality products and a site where I often send my clients for specific supplements.

So there we have it, a little bit about fish-oils. It's a product that should be taken daily, just have it with your breakfast, it saves counting out capsules for the day and worrying about when to take them. As mentioned in a previous blog, I'm not a qualified nutritionist but I think I would be doing my clients and people who read this blog a huge disservice by not talking about products that have had heaps of research conducted on them that show additional health benefits.

So, any resolutions for Feb?!!?


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