T Nation

Is Fish Oil Necessary??


This is something I've been thinking about some time, and I might be completely wrong....

Is it necessary to take fish oil???

The Paleodiet book is talking a lot about the balance between Omega-6 and Omega-3. And if you read studies about Omega-3 on pubmed, the positive effects are reached by improved ratio between O-6 and O-3.

Are there any ailments that are improved/cured directly by taking supplemental O-3? Not by improving the ratio between 0-6 and O-3.

If the only thing Omega-3 does is improving the ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3, then making sure that you are eating a diet with the right ratio between the two would be a way to not have to spend a lot of money on supplemental Omega-3.

And as I said in the beginning, this is just speculation from my side. I'm sure there are some experts here on the forum that could shed some light on this.



Yes, take fish oil. Your mind and body will thank you.



Read and learn. This thread is gold if you wanna know about fish oil.


I think it is an essential supplement, whether you are trying to gain or lean out. It is beneficial in so many ways, not solely for bodybuilding purposes, but for health as well.


dnlcdstn: In what ways (except when omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is concerned) will my mind and body thank me for the supplemental fish oil?

K-Man32: Where in the thread http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/diet_performance_nutrition_supplements/flameout_1 are benefits of supplemental fish oil (except when omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is concerned) discussed?

ebomb5522: In what ways (except when omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is concerned) do you think fish oil is an essential supplement, whether you are trying to gain or lean out?

Thank you!


no it's not necessary.

Many people live a long life without supplementing with fish oil. Then again, many of those same people suffer from arthritis, asthma, heart disease and a host of other issues that would be greatly helped by supplementing with fish oil.

Your call.


What if you already eat a ton of fish? I eat 10 oz. of tuna 6 days per week, and almost a pound on saturdays. I also eat a couple tblspoons of flax seed per day.


You do not need it but it will probably benefit you. Try it for a time and see how it works for you. Books and theory cannot take the place of experience. I take fish oil and CLA.


Haha, great point.
No supplement is NECESSARY, however, you could live a much better life with certain ones, like fish oil.
Fish oil itself is a great anti inflammatory and that is one major reason I love supplementing with it. Also, taking in my fat requirements for the day with half coming from fish oil makes my life easier and it has greatly improved my own joint pains which come from three knee surgeries. I just think that it is a great fat source and it can really help improve the way you feel.


yah that's what I was thinking. I notice absolutely no difference when taking fish oil, probably because I already eat a ton of fish


For me, my joints started to hurt when I ran out of fish oil.


Fish oil isn't really something you "notice", unless maybe you're depressed or have damaged joints. Similar to vitamins...you aren't going to notice the effects of vitamin D, but it doesn't make it any less important.

The body of research of fish oil supplementation seems overwhelmingly positive. It's relatively cheap, and unless you have clotting issues side effects are non-existent. I can't think of a reason not to take it.


Supplementation is not necessary. I do fine with having a few servings of salmon or sardines per week.


Thank you all for your input.

I guess the subject of the topic is a bit misleading, and maybe my formulation did not convey my question correctly.

So, to clarify:

Are there any ailments that can be cured/improved DIRECTLY by taking supplemental fish oil?

As an example, pain in joints is caused by inflammation. Inflammation is reduced when there is enough Omega-3 (stops inflammation) in relation to Omega-6 (starts inflammation). So Fish oil is INDIRECTLY improving pain in joints, NOT DIRECTLY.



I would just take the fish oil man. If your lifting heavy things everyday and pushing your body to the limit (PR's) you are using A LOT of nutrients/minerals in the process. It's relatively inexpensive, and don't just look at the Omega-3's. High levels of DHA and EPA is what sets fish oil apart.


I'm another yes vote for fish oil.


[quote]jma78 wrote:
dnlcdstn: In what ways (except when omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is concerned) will my mind and body thank me for the supplemental fish oil?

I doubt it's just me, but I notice a much sharper focus and overall feeling of calmness the following morning after I take just 5 grams of fish oil. I also take 10,000 i.u. of vitamin d
every other night. On nights I don't take fish oil/vit d I take 5 grams of flax oil.

I make sure to quit eating by 8 pm and supplement around 10:30. I'm sure there is some other factors that contribute to the "feeling good", but it is apparently working for me.

I also take magnesium a couple nights a week fwiw.


Eating a "ton of fish" does not necessarily mean you're ingesting an optimal amount of EPA/DHA.

It could, if you're choosing wild salmon, sardines, and cold water species. But not tuna.

Also, that's a lot of tuna to be eating. Not trying to turn this into a nutritional voodoo thread, but the mercury levels in tuna are well-documented. Have you ever had your mercury levels checked?

Flax's conversion rate to EPA-DHA is limited in many individuals. Ground flax seed is still nutritious, just not a great source of EPA/DHA.

Taking fish oil to me is an absolute no-brainer.


Short answer: like these guys said, you won't die if you don't take it... but still, just take it!

Long answer:
You can always play the "it's not the Omega-3's, it's the ratio!" card, so that doesn't work for me. I think that fish oil DIRECTLY reduces inflammation... I take it, and inflammation is reduced. I don't have a degree in nutrition, but I have read a number of studies, and I am quite certain there's more evidence that the benefits come from fish oil than from Omega 3:6 ratio.

Having said that, fish oil supplementation has been proven in laboratory to improve body composition, reduce inflammation, and improve blood values like blood pressure & triglycerides. They even help mental health by reducing incidence of depression.

Even if you disagree with me, and think fish oil works all its magic INdirectly... who cares?


Question: Is fish oil (molecularly distilled) a safe alternative to actual fish? The contamination of farmed raised and wild caught fish is an issue for some.