I want to talk to you about fish oil. Fish oil was the first thing I changed when it comes to medication. Maybe I should back up a bit. I was diagnosed as Bipolar Type II with mild obsessive-compulsive disorder in 1997. I was put on Prozac, then Zoloft, then Celexa before we finally settled on Effexor as being most effective for controlling my depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (I’m pretty sure there were a couple more in there, I just can’t remember what they were). I started with Depakote for my mania (which was relatively mild) and finally settled on Neurontin. These drugs did a good job of controlling my “symptoms.” I wasn’t running around, ruining my life and my credit (like I did in my first full blown manic attack) and I was able to get out of bed and generally function (unlike how most of my life went when I was dealing with severe bouts of depression). But wow. I completely lost my personality. I didn’t notice it so much at the time, because I was so happy that my life was more under control, but later, when I finally got off of them, and my personality came back it was very apparent. But more about that later. When I got pregnant this last time, and was told to go off my psych meds because they would be harmful to the baby, I had been on some form of psych medication for 13 years. And every time I had been pregnant in the past, and had to go off my psych medications, I had ended up relapsing on heroin (except when I had my daughter, probably because I didn’t realize I was pregnant until nearly halfway through the pregnancy so I wasn’t off of them for as long). So the prospect was a scary one. I started doing some research. The first thing I learned was fish oil.
The “experts” aren’t really sure why fish oil works. We know it does some major things to help alleviate inflammation but no one’s sure exactly how it helps the brain. I read an interesting article that compares Japan’s mental illness rates (they eat about a half pound of fish a day) with America’s and it was pretty startling. http://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/09/16/does-fish-oil-really-improve-mental-health
My naturopath said that there is a film that goes down the center of your brain and in some people it kind of gets hard and crusty, but when you take fish oil it softens it up and allows information to pass back and forth from your right and left sides more easily. But I haven’t personally read any research on that topic.
All I know is that when I started taking it, I started feeling better. It’s like a fog was lifted from my brain. I could think more clearly. I made better decisions. It was amazing. And it only took about 2 weeks to start feeling some serious improvements. And it just got better and better the longer I was taking it. Over the last few years I have also learned more about fish oil and have been able to improve the quality of oil that I take and that has made a big difference too.
From my research I have learned that the very best type of fish oil is fermented cod liver oil. It is most absorbable and gives you the most vitamins/benefits. I buy one that is a fermented cod liver oil/butter oil mix. This also gives me the most absorbable form of vitamin D outside of the sun on your skin. If you don’t buy fermented (it’s very expensive) then I would highly recommend fish oil that is in it’s triglyceride form. Some supplements advertise that they are in this form, but not all of them say one way or the other. You can test it yourself with a Styrofoam cup. Get your cup out and pour a little of your fish oil in it. If it eats through the cup within the first 15 – 20 minutes it’s not going to do you much good. This is an indication that it’s not in the triglyceride form. All fish oil will eat through a Styrofoam cup eventually, but the triglyceride stuff will take around an hour or more to do it.
If you have any experience with taking fish oil, please comment here or on my FB page and tell me what benefits you’ve actually experienced. They can do all the tests they want, but what really matters is what it does for you!
I wanted to share a verse with you that I came across in my reading this week. It starts out very negatively, but please bear with me. It shows one of God’s most amazing promises:
1 Corinthians 6:9-13 says “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God. All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.”
Wow. Do you see how awesome those verses are?! That list of terrible people? I was one of those. In my Bible I highlighted all the things on that list that I have been. It wasn’t pretty. There were only 3 that weren’t highlighted, and I’m not so sure about one of those three! I was all those terrible things, but look what comes next and watch how Paul says it. “But you were washed.” “But you were sanctified.” Not, “you were washed and sanctified and justified.” Rather each phrase starts with it’s own “but.” It’s like he’s saying, “yeah, BUT!” “It’s ok, BECAUSE!” I’ve been washed! I’ve been sanctified (set aside and made holy)!! I’ve been justified (declared just and righteous)!! Wow. No where in there does it say that I fixed all those problems, the only one who fixed anything, was Jesus; He washed, He sanctified and He justified. Praise God!! But now, look at the next part. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” God set me free! He freed me from that slavery to sin. I have freedom to choose for myself what I want to do and how I want to live my life. But not all my choices are profitable ones. Not all my choices will be good for me. And some of those choices could slam me right back into that slavery. I want to make good choices, I want to grow and mature, and I definitely don’t want to go back to being mastered by anything. I don’t want to go back to being a slave of sugar. But people can also be “mastered” by trying to “eat right.” If I’m so obsessed with following my eating plan that it gets in the way of my fellowship (we can’t go to the potluck, they won’t have any good foods there!!) or my ability to serve (let’s take our own lunch to eat after we serve the homeless, because we sure don’t want to eat THEIR food) then I have a serious problem. I would rather eat nothing but sugar the rest of my life than let my eating get in the way of my real calling here on earth. But thank goodness I don’t have to!! “Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food but the Lord will do away with both of them.” I eat food for my stomach’s sake. For my gut health, for my body. But I don’t let it master me. Food itself isn’t immoral, but my actions around food can be. It’s all about my motivation and how I interact with others. I thought it was really interesting that the Bible even addresses these “little” issues like what we eat. Paul has said some great things about letting what you eat cause other people to stumble.
I hope you are encouraged by these words and I hope you look at food in a new way. And please let me know what you experience if you decide to try some fish oil. Thanks for reading!