My Supplement Regime Revisited: Is Omega 3 Effective?
I’ve been taking a steadily evolving supplement stack for nearly 10 years and I can tell you exactly where it started and why.
I’ve always been kind of health conscious, in a preventative maintenance kind of way. I like the idea of not dying; living forever using the latest tech and advancements in health care to keep me young and disease and wrinkle free for like, forever. And if I can’t have that then I want the next best thing; to not die too young of something painful and preventable and stay wrinkle free far longer than I have any right to. Like Johnny Depp. Git.
So I read this book by a chap called Ray Kurzveil (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil – Author, inventor and Director of Engineering at Google) called Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever. The idea behind the book was that advances in medicine alongside advances in technology and their potential convergence somewhere down the line would give meaning to the strap line from Ray’s book: Live long enough to live forever. The idea being that of you could look after yourself for the next 10 years then the science would support you to survive for the next 30, at which point the singularity may well have occurred or at the very least medicine and tech would have allied sufficiently to start reversing the ageing process and cure the currently incurable. So the theory goes.
And it made sense to me too. If you look after anything well enough, your car, your house, your body, then the supporting sciences, whether they be engineering, nutrition, computer science or bio-medical will at some point be able to continue that maintenance and eventually undo a lot of the inevitable damage picked up along the way.
I’ve digressed enough and I’ll cover more of the nutritional/diet aspects of the theory in another post but the point is I read this book around 7 years ago and I’m still factoring nutritional supplementation into my daily routine to this day.
However, as with all things, as our understanding grows and we learn new things about cutting edge ideas, some things get debunked, some validated and the whole thing should evolve. My supplement routine hasn’t evolved lately and it’s a pretty expensive game so I’m going to take a look at what I take now, why, and re-evaluate whether it’s doing anything of value. Hopefully I can curtail my supplements, learn a bit more about what they’re doing (or not doing) for me and cut some costs. I should add that I’m naturally sceptical and don’t take anything without supporting evidence or at least a strong indication that something has value. I just haven’t thought about it for a while, routine and habit have taken over.
So what do I take on a daily basis?
The photo above is a shot of my pill boxes on pill box refill day. I quite enjoy the cathartic process of lining up my pill boxes and filling them up with the little buggers.
Let’s examine a daily pot:
- 3x Omega 3 fish oils 1000mg
- 1x Glucosamine Sulphate 1500mg
- 1x Vitamin B12 1000mcg(ug)
- 1x Niacin (Vitamin B3) 100mg
- 1x Vitamin D 400iu
- 2x Grapeseed Extract 50mg
- 1x Selenium 200mcg
- 1x Omeprozole 20mg
- 1x Enteric coated Asprin 75mg
Let’s take a look at each one (over a series of posts so you don’t get massively bored with the whole supplement topic…) and decide if it’s worth the time and cost based on my needs. I’m essentially trying to engage in preventative maintenance. So I want to look after my immune system, my joints and bones, my brain and cognitive function, my heart and my blood for as long as possible, staving of the effects of ageing and any potential diseases that can be potentially avoided.
In this post I’m going to take a look at Omega 3 fish oils.
Omega 3 Fish Oils
Everybody takes these don’t they? You can buy them everywhere and they’re great for your brain function, mood, circulation, joints and all sorts of other preventative effects. Allegedly.
I struggle to eat seafood, it makes me wretch like a cat with a hairball, despite the fact that’s it’s amazingly good for you; high in protein, low in saturated fats, high in good fats. Proper brain/heart healthy stuff. But it makes me vom so I have to supplement this. What’s in it? The active ingredients (the numbers you need to look at when buying fish oils) are the Eicosapentaeoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexeoic Acid (DHA). I take 3000mg of oil which equates to 990mg of EPA and 660mg of DHA.
The jury appears to be out on just how beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids are for cancer prevention and even heart disease prevention. I kind of depends who you talk to and Wikipedia is not always the authority, just a gang of opinions ostensibly Googled from elsewhere.
What it does seem to be good at is reducing inflammation (so preventative maintenance for arthritis, osteoporosis and asthma which are all in my family). It’s also shown to be very good for behavioural issues such as ADHD in kids and depression and bipolar disorders in adults. It’s also shown to be helpful in reducing the risk of dementia and potentially treating existing dementia.
There are potential dangers in taking too much such as thinning the blood to the point of hemorrhaging (bleeds, strokes) so it’s worth considering a balanced approach (for me anyway).
I’m after the cognitive preventative maintenance and current evidence suggests that this is more important in later years. I feel it may be more beneficial post 60 in terms of preventing dementia. But the overall potential for mood, anti inflammatory properties and the potential to help cognitive function as I age (along with the potential for other benefits that are constantly being tested) make this a keeper. Albeit at a slightly lower dose to reduce cost and any inherent bleeding dangers.
Omega 3 Revised Dose: 2000mg (660mg EPA and 440mg DHA) per day (except on fasting days but that’s another story)
Next up for analysis is my Glucosamine Sulphate supplement…