Is Fish Oil Paleo?

Ok, so it’s a provocative question.  Many people seem to feel that taking fish oil supplements is not “Paleo” because nothing should theoretically be “supplemented” when an honest Paleo diet is followed.  In other words, all supplements are technically non-Paleo by design.

Well, today we’re going to stick to the low road and allow for the idea that it’s okay to supplement with fish oil.  After all, it is worth pointing out that even the esteemed Dr. Loren Cordain gave “fish oil capsules” the green light in his classic book on the subject: The Paleo Diet: Lose Weight and Get Healthy by Eating the Food You Were Designed to Eat.

However, we did notice it was on the very bottom of his list of supermarket-friendly omega 3 fat sources.

[For those of you who are curious but don’t have the book yet, his list on page 24 led off with cold-water fish (e.g., halibut, herring, mackerel, salmon) and continued with flaxseed oil, liver, game meat, free-range chicken, pasture-fed beef, eggs enriched with omega 3, nuts (e.g., salt-free walnuts or macadamias), leafy green vegetables and finally — fish oil capsules.  (He makes a point to note they’re available at health food stores, which just goes to show how non-mainstream fish oil was eight years ago when his groundbreaking book came out.)]

Those tribe members following a “Paleo Zone” approach have most likely given in already to the notion that fish oil supplementation makes good health sense.  Nevertheless, some remain unconvinced, maintaining the non-Paleo nature of supplements while also bemoaning the added cost involved.

Like the lacto-paleo debate, there’s a lot to this discussion and we plan on looking more in detail in future posts.


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