Question of Strength, December '06
Q & A with one of the world’s premier strength coaches
by Charles Poliquin
The Single Best Supplement
Q: What’s one supplement that every athlete, weekend warrior, and basically any active person should be taking daily?
A: Fish oil. I was first introduced to fish oil twelve years ago by my friend Mauro DiPasquale. I was over at his house and he had fish oil on the counter. I asked him what he used it for and he said, “Charles, this is the most important supplement ever.”
He told me to go to Medline and punch in any disease known to man and the words “fish oil” beside it. He challenged me to find a study that didn’t show how fish oil could benefit in the treatment of any disease. I gave up after 86 studies!
Why is it so beneficial? It’s in our genes. Humans used to consume 300-400 grams of omega-3s per week. If we consume more than two grams a day now it’s considered a lot.
There was a study published four years ago that showed that if the US government issued three grams of fish oil per day to American citizens, then the amount of cancer and heart disease would go down by 50% within one year. Most readers don’t care about cancer and heart disease, but they may care about this: the biggest limiting factor in naturally training people to getting lean and adding muscle is the consumption (or lack thereof) of omega-3s.
Looking at the body structure of cavemen, they had a lot of muscle mass compared to modern man. They got their omega-3s through the meats they ate. Now, they often ate what the predators left. For example, a lion will eat an antelope from the gut on, so what’s left is the skull and long bones. Primitive man would break the skull open and eat the brains. Brains are 60% fat, and 60% of that is DHA, the omega-3. What they’ve found is that the more brain-sucking was going in those populations, the faster the IQ went up.
“I’ve lost my appetite.”
Primitive man would also break the bones of the prey and suck the marrow, also rich in omega-3, DHA particularly. DHA is the omega-3 most responsible for brain development while EPA is most associated with reducing inflammation.
My athletes would often recognize each other when sitting around a table because those I’d be training would break out the fish oil during the meal. That’s how I got the nickname “the fish oil guy” among athletes. But that’s also how I get people so lean so fast.
Anyone who wants to put on muscle and lose fat should be on 30-45 grams of fish oil per day. That’s just three tablespoons of fish oil. It would be a pain in the ass with capsules though because that’s around 45 capsules per day, but it’s easy with a straight oil.
Flameout is also a great product. I like the addition of CLA to the EPA and DHA because most of the population is deficient in CLA. When I travel abroad I bring four or five bottles of Flameout instead of my liquid fish oil and take four or five capsules a day.