According to the National Institutes of Health, fish oil is the most commonly used non-vitamin and non-mineral supplement in the US.
Statistics show that 7.8% of adults take supplements that contain fish oil. (1)
There’s no denying the fact that fish oils have become a household name.
But did you know that you need this the most during the keto diet?
Why are fish oil supplements considered to be one of the best keto supplements?
Since you’re on the ketogenic diet, now is the perfect time for you to further understand what this supplement is for, and how it can help you make the most out of this diet's benefits.
Worry not because we’re here to help you out!
To know more about this supplement and why it’s essential to include this in your diet, keep reading!
Why Taking Fish Oil on Keto?
Taking fish oil is highly recommended on the keto diet.
A high-quality fish oil supplement will serve as your source of the essential omega 3 fatty acids—EHA and DPA.
Our body needs these fatty acids to combat inflammation.
The thing is, omega fatty acids are essential, meaning the body can’t produce them. Instead, these fatty acids can be sourced from the foods that we consume.
Unfortunately, omega 3 fatty acids are often under-consumed.
Here’s the thing.
Omega-3 fats are often found in fishes and seafoods, which are not abundant.
This leads to a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
The omega ratio for the average American is 20:1, which is far from the recommended ratio, which is 1:1. (2)
The best way to correct this ratio is to increase your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids through fish oil supplements.
At the same time, you need to reduce your consumption of omega-6 fatty acids too.
What is Omega-3?
To keep the description short, omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated healthy fatty acids that deliver significant health benefits.
There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids.
The two important ones are EPA and DHA are found in certain fishes and seafood. The third one is ALA, which comes from plant sources like seeds and nuts.
We’ll be focusing on EPA and DHA as they are the ones that have significant roles in maintaining good health.
EPA is essential to the development of nerve function and brain. A part of EPA is converted into DHA when it enters the bloodstream. (3)
On the other hand, DPA is considered an essential fatty acid in the body as it is a critical component of the retina of your eyes, brain, and other body parts.
What are the Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
As we’ve mentioned, it’s crucial for the body to high levels of omega-3 fatty acids as they deliver a wide range of benefits.
What are these benefits? Check them out below.
Fights off inflammation
Ketosis, in itself, is already a potent modulator of inflammation. (4)
Well, the omega 3s can fight off too much inflammation, whether it’s caused by diet, stress, exercise, and other lifestyle factors.
The omega 3s can increase the blood levels of an anti-inflammatory molecule called specialized pre-resolving mediations (SPMs).
These molecules are produced when the body breaks down essential fatty acids.
These significantly affect white blood cells and are also effective in controlling the inflammation of blood vessels. (5)
Promotes better cardiovascular health
There are many ways taking fish oil rich in DHA and DPA can help with your cardiovascular health.
- Reduce the amount of triglycerides, which is a type of unhealthy, in your blood.
- Minimize your risk of experiencing an irregular heartbeat.
- Help to lower your blood pressure levels.
- Slow down plaque buildup in your arteries. (6)
Improves joint health
As mentioned, omega 3s have good anti-inflammatory properties.
That’s why it also has significant effects on your joint health and may help with arthritis.
It may also protect your ligaments and tendons from early degeneration.
Maintains good brain health
One of the jobs of omega 3s is to build cell membranes around the brain.
Cell membranes may protect brain cells from degeneration.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of these substances can also help maintain the health of your brain cells. (7)
Protects the body from metabolic diseases
Studies have shown that it can also help with diabetic patients' condition by improving their insulin resistance.
On the other hand, it has also been associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks, stroke, and different cancer types. (8)
What is Omega-6 and Why Too Much of It Can Be Bad for Your Health?
We’ve been talking about balancing the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio.
Now, Let’s discuss what Omega 6 is and WHY you need to lower its blood levels.
The truth is ...
The effects of Omega 6 in the body is like a two-edged sword.
Hold on! Don't be afraid.
In moderate amounts, this plays a significant role in wound healing. (11)
However, too much of this can lead to inflammation and high blood pressure.
This is why it’s crucial to make sure that there are higher levels of omega 3s than omega 6s in the body.
Unfortunately, the ketogenic diet is a diet that’s abundant in rich foods in omega-6 fatty acids.
Some of the best sources of omega 6s that you usually eat while on keto diet are meat, poultry, seafood, seeds, and nuts.
Thus, it can be more difficult for you to maintain the right omega 6 to omega 3 ratio.
This is why
Taking fish oil rich with omega 3s is highly recommended for a ketogenic dieter.
A Guide on Taking Fish Oil While on Keto
Based on the studies and information we’ve provided you, we can’t deny that taking fish oil is beneficial for people on the keto diet.
However, you can only enjoy all of the abovementioned benefits if you can maintain the right omega 6 to 3 ratio.
To do this, you need a fish oil supplement that contains 700 to 1000mg of EPA and 200 to 500 mg of DHA.
You can’t just take any fish oils. You must assess the content of your supplement.
Here are some tips on how you can do that:
Don’t trust the amount of omega 3s indicated in the label.
Since the guidelines and laws surrounding supplements are not yet fully established, you can’t expect that some supplements will have fewer omega 3s than what the company is advertising.
More or less, the content will be around one-quarter of the supplement’s stated content.
When choosing supplements, you must check the third-party companies' reports that verify and check the actual amount of the active ingredients.
In this way, you’ll know how much of these substances you’re getting.
Consider the serving size.
For some supplements, the recommended serving size is around 4 to 6 capsules.
Aside from the fact that it’s costly, your tendency to adhere to the regimen gets lower, the more capsules you need to take.
As much as possible, choose the keto diet supplement that will give you the right amounts in as few pills as possible.
Be aware of the side effects.
Yes, fish oil supplements come with side effects.
However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll surely feel the side effects every time you take the pills.
Some of the side effects you should watch out for are mainly digestive issues such as belching, diarrhea, and indigestion.
Talk with your doctor before taking the keto supplements.
Keep in mind that everything you take can have a significant effect on your body.
Even though it’s a supplement, fish oil can affect blood clotting.
It may also interact with certain medications.
This is why it’s crucial that you talk with your doctor first before taking it.
Other Ways to Balance Your Body’s Omega Ratio
In addition to taking fish oil supplements, there are other steps that you can take to maintain the right omega ration. Here are some of them:
Boost your omega 3 intake.
You can do this by incorporating omega 3-rich food items into your ketogenic diet. Here are some of the keto-friendly sources for healthy fats:
- Chia seeds
- Cod liver oil
Reduce your omega 6 intake.
The main reason why there’s an imbalance in your omega ratio is that we tend to consume foods that are rich in unhealthy fats.
To avoid this, it’s a must that you monitor your omega intake per meal.
You can do this by ensuring that you get 6 grams of omega-3 and only 1 to 2 grams of omega-6 every meal.
Time your omega intake properly.
Not a lot of people pay attention to their nutrient timing.
Aside from the amount, you also consider the time when you consume these nutrients.
Try to evenly distribute the types of food rich in these nutrients per day as much as possible.
Avoid trying to hit the RDA in just one meal.
In this way, your body will receive its much-needed nutrients per day.
By timing your nutrient intake right, you’re assured that your body will slowly yet continuously get the amount of omega it needs to enjoy its benefits.
Balance your fat intake.
If you want to get the most out of your ketogenic diet, you should also try to balance the amounts of saturated and polyunsaturated fats as much as you can.
You can do this by minimizing your consumption of unhealthy saturated fats and increasing your polyunsaturated fats intake.
To do this, you should shy away from incorporating corn oil, grapeseed oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, margarine, vegetable shortening, and soybean oil in your diet.
Instead, use avocado oil or olive oil when cooking.
You should also consume more fishes like mackerel, trout, tuna, and salmon. Avocados are also a great source of healthy fat when you’re on keto.
The Bottom Line
There’s no denying the fact that taking fish oil supplements is beneficial to the keto diet.
But as mentioned, choosing the right type of fish oil will make sure that you can enjoy all of the benefits we’ve mentioned while on the keto diet.
Because of this, you must choose your fish oil supplements well.
To help you do that, we’ve created a buying guide for you.
Additionally, we’ve enumerated some of the other keto supplements you should take. You can check out what these are in this article.