“So, the course of time is really very much like the course of a ship in the ocean. It leaves behind it a wake, and that tells us where the ship has been, in just the same way as the past and our memory of the past tells us what we have done…Now the important thing to remember in this illustration is that the wake doesn’t drive the ship…So you see, if you insist on being determined by the past, that’s your game. But the fact of the matter is: it all starts right now.” ~ Alan Watts
So why would one want — and what effects can one expect — from pounding 40 grams of fish oil / day? I have some educated guesses as to the potential effects, and as for the “why”, well, there’s no better way to test theory than to do a little citizen science and assess how that theory plays out in practice.
Credit where credit is due
First of all, this is hardly a unique protocol. High dose fish oil consumption has been touted by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale (to whom the cyclic ketogenic diet can be traced) as far back as the late 80s, and were refined / revised by Charles Poliquin. Also, my good friend, biohacker and polymath, Ryan Frisinger (of Kosmic Animal) has put his unique twist on the protocol. And it’s Ryan’s protocol that I’m currently following.
What are the expected benefits?
The short list:
- cognitive enhancement
- mood elevation
- CNS “quieting” / calming / normalizing. Enhanced ability to transition from parasympathetic to sympathetic, and back again
- reduced inflammation
- gut healing
- reduced appetite (blunted carb cravings) / fat reduction
- reduction / “dissolving” of scar tissue
- enhanced hypertrophy
Scant information can be found on the effects of prolonged high dose fish oil consumption. Below, however, are a couple links for additional info. Note: plenty of anecdotal reports here. To my knowledge, there is a dearth of “scientific” study on high dose fish oil ingestion for long periods of time (i.e., 30 days or more). As with all undertakings in the realm of “citizen science”, I’m going in with eyes wide open. As should you, when doing the same. Caveat emptor; you know the drill.
- Anabolic Minds thread on high dose fish oil
- An overview of fish oil benefits in general, by Mauro DiPasquale; no dose-specific benefits noted. Good information otherwise, though
- An interesting book on the benefits of EPAs and DHAs in general
- High dose fish oil in treating traumatic brain injury
What does this protocol look like?
Just as it’s billed: 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of the good stuff a day, split between a 20 gram AM dose, then another 20 gram dose again in the PM. Per Ryan’s suggestion, I’m using Emerson’s Pure Fish Oil for this experiment. Best quality for cost on the market. Because, let’s face it: this is not an inexpensive venture.
40 grams to freedom. Puts a new biohack twist on my old Sublime-loving days.
My initial Results (6 days in)
So I began this run on the evening of January 21st. First thing I noticed was a near complete blunting of appetite. Not from an “ugh…. my stomach is screwed” feeling, but from more of an “ I don’t even feel the urge to eat” standpoint. Very interesting. In fact, on the morning of the 22nd (following my 20 gram AM dose), I got busy with work related issues and, since I was at the gym, took a break to dive into a heavy and hard workout. After a particularly hard set of deadlifts (it was 3:30 PM by this point), I lapsed into an unusual spell of dizziness. Odd for me, even with extreme efforts. I tried to piece together why this might be so, and realized that I hadn’t eaten all day. Not one damn thing. Now, I usually eat on internal que, but in the absence of that normal que, well…
Note to self: while on this protocol, you’ll need to remember to eat sufficiently to support work output. And that goes for remembering to drink adequate amounts of water. Interesting indeed.
I’ve also noticed an elevated mood; a peaceful, easy feeling, as it were. Almost like the feeling of having just meditated. And enhanced energy. Not in a jittery way, but more of a focused ability to “get shit done”. I continuously struggle with a curiosity run amuck (ADD?), and I tend to dive into (albeit interesting) rabbit holes from which I will emerge hours later wondering just where in the hell the workday went. I now seem to have the ability to both better control that, and to glean whatever information I’m looking for without getting sucked into those vortexes. If nothing else comes from the experiment, this, for me, is a huge win.
Another thing I’ve noticed (again, I’m just 6 days into the experiment), is a refined clarity, vibrancy and sharpness of vision. Contrast and colors are incredibly sharp. It seems to me akin to low dose LSD in that respect. Without, though, the emotional separateness. In other words, my feeling throughout the day is very “warm” and connected. Very cool indeed.
Any potential negatives?
As discussed, it can be costly. 40 grams / day (at Emerson’s current price) works out to about $240 for the month’s supply. The health benefits though, could be well worth it. And the intent is to dose high for a month, then taper to a more reasonable (in a cost effectiveness sense) 5 grams / day or so. But that’s still to be determined.
It’s also a pain in the ass to be tethered to a bottle of fish oil. Capsules could do the trick (for travel, etc.), but that would get *really* cost prohibitive. Possibly a combo of the two would work; relying on capsules in a pinch. As of now though, I’m all liquid, all the time.
And to be fair, Kresser has written this recent piece on the flip side of fish oil supplementation; the potential negatives.
My counter to that counter though is the rather myopic view these studies take (which, of course, skews the outcome). In other words, there seems to be a tendency in most practioners to be lured into this reductionist mindset; studying the isolated expression of one factor or another to determine whether or not an activity is good or bad in an overall sense. My point is that we have to step back and understand what the action in question is affecting, vis-a-vis, the human in its current environment. The totality of the epigenetic input matters greatly. As do, of course, goals.
For my part, I’m only interested in the isolated minutia insofar as they might better drive (by tweaking) the outcome. In other words, using isolated minutia as a “fine adjust” to the 30-thousand-foot-view of using the stimulus itself as the “coarse adjust”.
Another point is that some activities don’t scale. That is, when we go the reductionist route what we’re really trying to do is develop systems and processes (in this case, healing modalities) that can be translated into repeatable, duplicatable and expedited expected outcomes. This simply doesn’t work when we’re dealing with individuals comprised of unique genetic make ups in unique epigenetic environments. The same reason that cookie-cutter training routines have serious limitations. We can delve into the minutia, yes, but only in the context of the individual and the sum of his epigenetic exposure.
And I get it. As a business person, I do realize this reality sucks. But we’re talking about the healing / coaching arts here, *not* the manufacture of bobble head dolls. The act of healing / coaching is an art. The teaching of that art might be somewhat scaleable, but not the act itself.
More to come.
Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world ~