How much fish oil is too much?

fish oil, nutrition, omega, supplementation -

How much fish oil is too much?

Fish oil is an indisputable ally in your fat loss efforts.

Actually, to be fair, there isn’t any condition that is not improved by the consumption of fish oil.

But when it comes to fat loss, fish oil shows up with an impressive curriculum. Indeed it:

  • Improves cellular communication

  • Improves insulin sensitivity

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Favors lean mass

This is a wide-ranging array of bold claims, let’s explore each one

Improves cellular communication

Each cell in your body is surrounded by a lipid bilayer. This membrane contains various lipids including cholesterol and phospholipids. Cholesterol is a somewhat rigid molecule. Similarly, saturated phospholipids due to their straight physical conformation make the membrane more dense and compact. Hence the ratio between cholesterol and saturated phospholipids vs unsaturated phospholipids dictates the membrane fluidity.

Why would this matter?

Because the ability of a cell to communicate with the external milieu depends on its malleability. One thing to keep in mind is that cell membranes function according to what is called a fluid mosaic model. Transporter proteins, ion channels, signalling proteins, and a whole array of cellular substructures need to navigate from the cell to the outer surface of the membrane in order for the cell to function properly.

From a fat-loss perspective, you want the adipocytes to be receptive to signals inducing fatty acid liberation, otherwise the adipocytes will never release their stored bounty.

Improves insulin sensitivity

This point ties in with the previous one; it is a specific case of cellular communication since insulin sensitivity is receptor-dependent. And insulin is arguably one critical factor for body composition. In fact, it is one of the single most important factor 100% under your control to manage your health, wellness and body composition.

Reduces inflammation

Acute inflammation is normal and desirable as it allows the body to heal itself. On the other hand, chronic inflammation creates all sorts of inconveniences – one of them being to stall fat loss.

Inflammation prevents fat loss by a variety of factors such as disruptions of the thyroid hormonal cascade, development of oestrogen toxicity and impaired insulin sensitivity. Suffice it to say that in a situation of chronic inflammation, your body’s top priority is not to get rid of your muffin top, it is to survive. Period.

Once the crisis is under control, then, your metabolism can revert to its usual fare.

  • Turns on lipolytic genes

  • Turns off lipogenic genes

These two points are pretty self-explanatory: lipolytic means fat breaking, and lipogenic means fat making. Recently it has come to the public knowledge that gene expression can be modulated by the environment. In the case of the fat storing/fat burning genes, their expression can be modulated – as with a dimmer. Less fat storing, more fat burning.

Favours lean mass

Fish oil also appears to be anti-catabolic, meaning that it spares muscle. The body is in a constant state of building and destroying tissues, and muscle is no different in this regard. This balance of anabolism (building) and catabolism (destroying) must be tipped toward anabolism if you want to gain muscle mass. Slowing down catabolism in regard to anabolism is the second part of the equation, but it’s one seldom considered.

The advantage of fish oil is that it seems to be doing both, as it has been shown to decrease the activity of the system that mediates muscle degradation, called ubiquitin-proteasome system. EPA is the fatty acid that reduce the activity of this system significantly. Hence an EPA-rich supplement might be more adequate to reduce catabolism.

Sadly, it takes a lot of fish oil to reach the full benefits. The best fat loss effect is obtained with a dose of  50g/day…

… At such high dosage, supplementation becomes pricey and compliance a problem (and not only from haters and doubters)…

This is one of the many reasons I formulated Omega Drive as a solution to this issue!