Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Udo's Oil

I've been aware of the reported benefits of Udo's Oil for endurance athletes for at least 2 years, but I had never used it with any regularity until a few months ago. Scott Jurek has been Udo's largest promoter among ultrarunners, and it's certainly hard to argue with his success and knowledge in the sport. And then this fall on a run with Krissy Moehl she also spoke highly of Udo's Oil and the effect it's had on her running. Finally I decided that the endorsement of two of the people I respect the most in the sport of ultrarunning was enough for me to give it a more serious try. I have now been taking 2-4 tablespoons of Udo's 3-6-9 Oil virtually everyday since the end of November.

The science behind the benefits of "healthy fats" for endurance athletes (or for anyone for that matter) is well documented so I won't go into it here. There are all kinds of resources on the web that explain this with much more detail and with much more knowledge than I have at my disposal. Here is a good spot to start if you're interested in reading more about this.

All this science and research doesn't mean a thing to me though unless a product works for me. Two months is not a conclusive amount of time to state with 100% certainty that any product is having a significant positive effect on my body. I tend to have natural ebbs and flows in my general physical well being which seem to last 3 months or more. This said I have felt significantly better in many areas in this time that I have been taking Udos. It's hard for me not to believe that this Oil has been a major player in feeling as healthy as I have.

The area that I have noticed the most improved physical well being since beginning on Udo's has been in my overall energy levels throughout the day. I have previously felt quite tired most of the time between my training runs. Typically I have turned to afternoon caffeine to get me through the low points, and then sleep as much as possible, and I'm usually able to feel pretty good and recovered in time to do it all over again the next day. In the past few months though I have noticed less and less of this low point between runs. Even on days when I do a really long or really hard run I tend to feel totally recovered and re-energized within a few hours. I am quite certain that the improvement I have felt in this area is directly a result of my consumption of Udo's Oil. The difference has simply been too much to ignore.

As far as my physical well being during runs, I would say the jury is still out on this one a bit. I feel like I have felt generally a bit stronger during runs in the past few months, but I have had a lot of variables that have been presented in this time. I have been dealing with the effects of adjusting to living and training at 8,500 ft. I have lived at this altitude since August, but only in the past month or two do I feel that I have fully acclimatized. I have also, in the past 3 weeks, taken my first significant break from serious training in over a year. Because of these variables it's pretty hard for me to really grade the effect that Udo's has had on how I feel during runs. I do look very forward to the coming weeks though as I get back into the "normal" swing of things to see how I feel running on 4 or 5 tablespoons of Udo's Oil a day. I'll keep you all posted on this one.

The other thing I would add is how much I have enjoyed the flavor that Udo's adds to some of the foods I've been eating it with. It adds a great rich, hearty, Earthy flavor to my recovery smoothies. This is a concoction that I have typically choked down in the past, but with a couple tablespoons of Udo's it's much tastier. I've also really enjoyed using it as an oil for salad dressing. I think my favorite is a simple dijon vinaigrette with a bit of dijon mustard, garlic, red wine vinegar, and Udo's. I also ate some on pasta the other day for the first time and was surprised at how satisfying that was.

Anyhow, to make a long story short, you should get some Udo's 3-6-9 Oil and try for yourself. As I said, it's only been a few months for me, but the early results are very positive, and I'm excited to move ahead with Udo's as a regular part of my diet.


Lisa said...

I like Udo's Oil too. I think it's helped me with recovery and just keeping my joints well oiled. One side benefit was that a coworker told me she noticed a difference in my skin as well, that it was smoother. Something a 42 yr old woman likes to hear. ;)

Neal Gorman said...

A worthy plug. I scooped up a few samples at Western States. Yes, it tastes good- for an oil- and the benefits are stout. The problem is a small bottle costs 15 clams and the next size up costs 30. We're not rich triathletes for God sakes. We're ultra runners. ; )

Scott Dunlap said...

I have tried Udo's as well as other oil supplements, and agree that when you take it reguarly it seems to boost my base endurance a bit. It seems to be particularly between hard speed sessions.

That's a good idea with the salad. I'll have to give that a shot.

Derrick said...

I have also noticed very positive results since using Udo's and will certainly continue to use it.

I've sort of stuck to the 2-3 tablespoons per day with fruit juice/drinks, but will be curious to hear how your body/stomach handles the increase up to 5 tablespoons per day...and how you use it in that volume.

A great product for sure.

Geoff said...

cool to hear that others are having some positive results with Udo's.

today i made a batch of hummus and used Udo's instead of Olive Oil. It made one of the tastiest hummus' I've ever had. I think you could even stir some into commercial hummus as a good way to get the oil into your body.

Neal, It's pricey for sure, but when you think about what you're getting it's really a great deal. flax, pumpkin, and sesame seeds make up the bulk of Udo's. It must take about a trillion of these seeds to produce one bottle of oil. edible oils in general have always amazed me at how cheap they are.

Georgia Snail said...

My running partner has been like a fly in my ear for 2 years now telling the wonders of Udo's Oil 3-6-9. Like Neal, I always balked at the cost. I suppose if the oil works as well as everyone says, how can I afford not to use it. Your endorsement in using it in replacement for other oils in certain recipes would balance out some of the financial investment...

Great review, thanks!

P.S. How long have you been sponsored by Udo's?

Anonymous said...

I regularly take fish oil tablets but have been hesitant of the cost of Udo's. Is there a significant difference between the two?

Wyatt Hornsby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wyatt Hornsby said...

I've been on the fence with Udo's for a while. I already take L-carnitine, L-glutamine and glucosamine/MSN (vegetarian version) and, honestly, I don't know how comfortable I am using another supplement-type product such as Udo's. For oils, I use olive oil and canola. I don't eat enough fish, mainly because my wife hates it. Anyway, it's good to know so many have had excellent results with Udo's. I have tried it a few times (sample from the Leadville 100) but I didn't use it enough to see any results.


aublumberg said...

Very similar results to many of the other posters here: been using it for a year and noticed exceptional improvement in fast recovery ability. Also noticed any joint aches after hard training and races to disappear, so actually dropped Glucosamine tablets (Hammer) entirely as a result. In addition to mixing it into smoothies and use it as (sole) salad dressing, I also mix it into my whole grain pasta dishes.
Fish oil is not recommended given increasing heavy metal pollution in fish, as well as the fact that animal proteins have been linked in numerous studies to higher risk in chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer etc.

Thomas Bussiere said...

I need to give this a try.

BrotherRunner said...

Try using udo's instead of olive oil when making an italian herbed bread dip. SOOOOOO good after a long run. Good ol' crusty bread and the dip=fine recovery fuel.
Enjoy your honesty and level headed commentary on trail running and all that is part of it. I am encouraged while running hard on the trails of Pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

@aublumberg: I agree with you on the metals concern but I think its pretty extreme to associate fish oil tablets with chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. Those are much more likely to stem from our American over-indulgence in fatty red meat, not from cold water fish. The benefits of fish oil are widely espoused, I just wanted to know if the benefits are similar to those reaped from taking Udo's.

Dave Mackey said...

"There is mounting evidence that omega-3 fatty acids from fish or fish oil supplements not only help prevent cardiovascular diseases in healthy individuals, but also reduce the incidence of cardiac events and mortality in patients with existing heart disease. A new study, published in the August 11, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, extensively reviews data from a broad range of studies in tens of thousands of patients and sets forth suggested daily targets for omega-3 consumption." -Science Daily referencing an American Journal of Cardiology report.
It is widely accepted that fish oils and Omega 3's are very beneficial for heart health, and are commonly prescribed for those specifically with cardiovascular disease and as a protective factor against CV disease.

From Consumer reports: "Bottom line: If you choose to take a fish-oil supplement, our experts say to look for products labeled "USP Verified," which means the product has been tested by the U.S. Pharmacopeia, a non-governmental standards-setting authority, for purity and potency. While USP verification is a quality standard, its program does help ensure that supplements contain the ingredients stated on the label, in the amounts listed, and that they meet what USP considers "acceptable limits" for contaminants, including PCBs. "

Of course, Udos does not contain fish oil, so this isnt a concern here.

Anonymous said...

This discussion has really got me thinking and I was doing some research today (its ok I work for the government) and it seems like taking Udo's/flax/fish oil supplements in tablet form is woefully inadequate. It takes roughly 14 Udo's tablets to achieve the volume of 1 tablespoon. If the average American takes two capsules or so daily on doctor's recommendation it doesn't seem like they would even come close to reaping the benefits from the oil that you all have seen.

So I was comparing the labels for Udo's and various flax only oils tonight at Whole Foods, I'm a very inquisitive person if you couldn't tell, and noticed that the breakdown of Omega 3, 6, and 9s are virtually identical in some. Does the fact that Udo's has sesame and sunflower oils as well make enough of a difference to justify over double the price tag? If anyone has any insight on this it would be greatly appreciated.

Jay said...

danc1525, I don't have the benefit of the labels you were looking at but I have some possible guesses. First, I wonder if the others are organic? Udo's 3-6-9 is "99%" organic (if organic is something you care to pay more for). Also with any oil the extraction method is very important, chemical vs. pressing vs. cold-pressing. I know Udo's is careful to press at low temps. Not sure on the others you were looking at. Those are potential differences to consider. Also, I assume you compared not just the overall Omega contents, but the actual amino contents? I think (but am not sure) that Udo's uses the other seeds to provide a wider amino profile. Hope that's helpful.

I found some for 25% off so decided to try it. We'll see. Hope it's not snake oil.

Anonymous said...

The products I looked at were cold-pressed and organic as well, but flax was the only ingredient. So I guess the question is, do the other oils and extracts in Udo's make it superior to a product that only contains one even if they contain the same amounts of omegas? Some research seems to indicate that men have trouble converting ALAs to DHAs. This could be the rationale for adding the other oils as well.

Geoff said...

great questions and all i can say is that i have read a few places that a 2:1:1 ratio of omega3 to omega6 to omega9 is the best ratio for gaining the benefits from these fats. the ratio of straight flaxseed oil is closer to 4:1:1. Honestly i have no idea if this makes a huge difference or what the science is behind the idea that 2:1:1 is the best, but certainly this is something i'd love to learn more about.
i would presume also that there is a lot to what Jay said about getting a much wider amino profile (as well as a wider profile of trace minerals) from an oil like udo's which is comprised of 7 different oils. again, i'm not certain of the science here and would be curious to know more.
beyond all of this I think udo's has a more complex and satisfying flavor than straight flax oil. i love the combination of the flax and sunflower flavors together.