Fish Oil – Episode 170

Performance Menu: Journal of Health & Athletic Excellence

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  1. [6:26] Sitting
  2. [17:35] Squat Speed
  3. [24:43] Weak Grip Strength
  4. [29:26] Update To Book Information
  5. [38:49] Fish Oil And Excess PUFA
  6. [43:43] Seal Oil
  7. [47:45] Eating Before Bed And Growth Hormone
  8. [51:38] Counteracting Lead Exposure
  9. [56:12] Cortisol Adaptation And Effects From Combat


1. Sitting.

Emma says:
Dear Robb and Greg,

Is sitting really that bad? There’s a lot of buzz about how bad is for you. “Sitting is the new smoking” and “sitting will make you die, now”, etc.  I understand that if all one does is sit, without any activity, then he or she will likely encounter health issues. However, it seems oversimplistic to me to suggest that sitting, in general, is deadly. I, for instance, am very active, but also spent a good amount of time sitting on the couch. I am lean and fit, but I also like to relax. I remember, somewhere, hearing that hunter-gatherers did not necessarily have an energy output greater than that of Americans. Sitting seems like a pretty paleo thing to do, you know? Once you were done hunting mammoths and shit. I get that if you sit too much your hip-flexors get tight, but really, guys, how bad can sitting be?

I’ve been listening since, literally, episode one. Hopefully you will address my question, while I continue to sit on my ass.
2. To Greg: squat speed

Joss says:
Hi Robb & Greg,

Greg, in your Catalyst Athletic blog post on 1/10, you posted several videos of your students squating.  Most were performing very fast squats.  Was that a light/speed focus day, or is it how you always train for squats?  If the later, do you find that training for a fast squats at a given weight translate smoothly into slower and heavier lift (e.g., during a meet)?  Anything else you’d like to add on squat speed?

3. Grip Strength as a Weak Link

Paul says:
Greetings Robb and Greg,
I started listening to the podcast this past December. I started around 140 to current, then went back and have listened to numbers 1 through 15 or so.

If you’ve covered this in an episode that I haven’t gotten to then I apologize.

I am a 29 year old, 6 foot tall male who has been eating paleo (plus some dairy, and peanut butter) for about 8 months, and dropped 30 pounds. I’m currently around 200lbs with my final leanness goal around 190lbs.

My main goal has been to lean out and get more mobile and agile.

I recently added more strength-specific training back to my regular activity.

I have found that my grip strength is a weak point in doing dead-lifts.

My general goals are to be all-around functionally strong. For this reason I stopped using straps about a year ago. I have noticed an improvement in my grip strength, but I still cannot get above a 200lb dead-lift with just my grip, where-as in the past I got up to 350lbs with using straps.

I seem to have conflicting goals now being improved grip strength, and working on general strength.
I feel like using straps would be counter-productive to improving grip strength, but at the same time I feel that I would benefit from pushing my dead-lift higher.

Any advice you could offer would be awesome


4. Book errata/update

CoderGrok says:
I’ve just started on your book and was wondering if there’s anything in there that you’ve since found to be incorrect or just not the best information on that subject in the 3-ish years since it was published.

I’m trudging my way through the backlog of podcasts too (somewhere in the 60’s now). Thanks to you, Andy, and Greg for all the work you’ve done to help people get healthy.


5. Fish Oil may do more harm than good

Damian says:
Hey Guys, love the podcast. I struggle with staying %100 paleo but like the results when I do. I do crossfit 4 days a week and found I had to add regular potatoes to the mix to have enough energy to complete the workouts. (Not sure how much harm I am doing by doing that, but I found it works).

Anyways, not sure if you have covered this on the podcast, because I haven’t listened to every episode. I started using the Omega-3 from Strongerfasterhealthier and I was wondering if you could address this article for me.


6. Is seal oil superior source of omega-3?

Russ says:
Hey Robb,
I just recently started listening to your podcast. Really digging it. As a biology major and biochem minor I appreciate your scientific approach and the lack of cultish creepiness that I’ve seen from other paleo blogs. I’ve been eating paleo for a year now for body-recomp and health purposes. I’ve had asthma, eczema, etc. The whole atopic march. I’ve also had chronic insomnia and numerous nagging injuries from high school football.

While many of these issues improved when I started eating largely paleo I could hardly call them fixed. About a month ago I discovered seal oil as an alternate source of omega 3’s. I had been taking fish oils already but I decided to try it based on (mainly Canadian) testimonials and about 4 studies I found demonstrating it’s superior absorption to cod liver oil, tuna, and (I think) salmon oil.

Within a week I was sleeping through the night and all my other issues are now all but gone ( I have been taking the supplement about a month). I take 2 tablespoons a day, same as I did for the Carlson’s fish oil I used to take. This gives me less total omega 3’s, but I am finding it to be much more effective against inflammation (which is basically the recurring theme for all my symptoms).
My understanding is that seal oil is more effective either due to the higher DPA content, or (more likely I think) because the omega 3 FA’s occure on the sn1 and sn3 positions of the triglyceride, same as they do in humans. Apparently in fish they occur on the sn2 and this makes them harder to assimilate (or so the seal oil companies say).
Either way, I’ve seen great results from this supplement and don’t intend to stop using it. I’m still curious to hear your opinion though, and whether you’ve had any experience with this supplement as an alternative to fish oil. Maybe some people who don’t absorb omega 3’s from fish oil as well would do better with this? What are your thoughts on seal oil, Robb?


7. Bedtime snack/meal

Michael says:

I was watching a youtube clip of Dr. John Crisler speaking about growth hormone and he mentioned that high fat intake around bedtime inhibits growth hormone production.   Is there much merit to his statement?  The reason I ask is because I have found eating a fatty meal with protein near bed time helps me avoid waking up at 3am due to blood sugar crashes.  If there is some potential for a worthwhile improvement via a adjustment in macro nutrients, would I be better off with eating half a pound of lean meat as my bedtime snack?

referenced video:


8. Counteracting Lead (Pb) Exposure

Jen says:
I have consistent exposure to lead solder fumes in my current occupation. My “exhaust” fan merely vents the smoke away from my face and further out into the room. And, like a dummy, I do eat and drink while working, since there is really no practical way not to.

I picked up a selenium supplement after some recent dental work (removing a cracked mercury amalgam filling and, sadly, replacing it with more mercury). I have continued to take it because you mentioned in passing on a previous podcast that the selenium could also bind lead. Could this be helpful? If so, how much selenium should I take? I am currently taking the “bottle dose” of 50 mcg (as high selenium yeast) in a tablet which also contains 51 mg dicalcium phosphate. I take in in the morning on an empty stomach since I don’t really know what the protocol should be.

Also, on a related note, I am still carrying quite a bit of excess fat. (I am a 5’2″ woman and weigh 165 lbs.) The changes I have made in my diet and lifestyle have not led to fat loss and I have some next steps in mind. However, should I actually be avoiding rapid fat loss because of lead stored in my body fat? If I ever do start losing fat should my protocol for lead management change? How long do I need to continue to be wary of this once I ultimately change jobs?

Other info: My diet is supermarket-sourced paleo plus very rare dairy, with probably too many nuts. I do eat some cane sugar. I also typically drink about 8 oz red wine on days that I don’t have training in the evening.
I play roller derby and do sports-specific training 3 to 4 days a week, plus foam rolling, stretching, and yoga for mobility. I also try to take a daily walk at a low/moderate pace. In addition to the selenium, I supplement with 5000 IU of vitamin D. I sleep 7 – 9 hours a night (leaning toward 9, but sleeping after practice is a challenge).

I did really try to search your site and also Dr. Google, until I realized/remembered that the word “lead” is a homograph of a common verb. Yeah, that didn’t work out too well.

Thank you so much for everything you do.


9. Cortisol adaptation from combat

Jack says:
Robb and Greg,
Praise be to John Moses Browning that you two are willing and able to help the rest of us. Thanks for the continued great information.

In recent years I experienced some super-happy fun times in Iraq as an Infantryman and designated marksman in the Army. I saw the effects of cortisol near-daily and I am sure it helped me somehow, but it also helped me get fat (up to 260 lbs then).

I seem to do well on a paleo diet and feel better than I ever have. I’m 28 years old, 6’5″ tall, 220 lbs and trying to get full blood panels and body fat tested (all in good time). I also have a very high level of stress in my life, but try to sleep a lot and supplement as well as I know how; I seem to handle that stress pretty well.

My question is this: Does continuous exposure to intense stress,(such as that of kicking in doors and being showered with bullets, not sleeping well, poor diet, etc) yield any long-term side effects or possible adaptation?  I know many of your clients are bigger bad asses than I ever was, so I hope this is a worthwhile topic.

Thanks for everything and I hope to figure out whether I am lucky, normal, broken or what have you.

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  1. Joe K says

    its an interesting topic the whole pre bed food thing. I’ve been having problems for months with waking at 3am/4am. Latest ASI test came back ideal so started to look at other options, mainly blood sugar issues. The standard advice of having some protein/nuts right before lights out was highly inconvenient and didn’t have an effect.

    I then tried an experiment where I bought some of those little sugary drinking yoghurt/probiotic drinks (to help with gut issues also), I had it by the bed and pound one before lights out. Since then i’ve been sleeping through most nights. So i suspect something strange with blood sugar has been going on. I think its worth the sugar if I sleep solidly.

  2. says

    Regarding waking in the middle of the night. This is usually about adrenal fatigue due to swings in blood sugar. This is caused by how you start your day or going more than four hours without protein in the active part of the day. I advise my patients to eat protein within 45 minutes of rising and always before caffein (very important) and before exercise. I know Robb says exercise first for weight loss (and of course he is probably right on that account) but I think it is stressful to the adrenals, and sets up associated swings in blood sugar. If this roller-coaster is started in the morning, then people may be low energy or cranky in the afternoon or early evening and may wake in the middle of the night when the adrenals have to kick in. These people will often have knee complaints because of the association of the adrenals with the gracilis, sartorius and gastrocs – three muscles that cross the knee. Adrenal weakness can usually be cleared with these dietary components. Simple and effective.
    P.S. – to the previous comment – if your diet is right and you still need probiotics, you have disbiosis (yeast, bacteria, protozoa, etc). Ditch the bug so you can ditch the bandaid yogurt crap. Diet alone won’t do it. You need a doc who won’t use poison like flagyl, black walnut, wormwood and the like. Be well.

  3. Edward says

    Sitting is not a problem if you know how to sit. Check out Esther Gokhale’s “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.” The title is a bit misleading because it is more of an approach to how changing bad postural habits can cure a wide variety of musculo-skeletal complaints from herniated discs to carpal tunnel syndrome. It isn’t your usual self-help silliness.

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