Are you an athlete pushing your body to the limit?
Omega 3’s have been shown to:
Speed up recovery, reduce muscle soreness and make you stronger!
If you’ve heard of the benefits of omega 3s, it’s probably been for your heart. After all, the American Heart Association says that Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce triglyceride levels, keep your arteries clear, and ward off irregular heartbeats.
Looking to achieve the best possible gains? While no athlete is hitting a new PR without a healthy heart, the benefits of omega 3s go so much further! Omega 3s speed your workout recovery, boost your gains, help you hit new athletic goals, what's more, they are also necessary and beneficial for cardiovascular, brain, joint, eye and skin health!
The thing is, your body can’t make certain omega 3 fatty acids on its own. It depends on getting them into your diet. And even if you are making an effort to eat lots of fish, avocados, and nuts, you're most likely falling short of your goals.
Omega 3s come in three types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Long-chain fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are found in fish, fish oil supplements, and algae extract. The short-chain form, ALA, is found in plant sources like nuts, flax seed, chia seeds, avocado, and olive oil.
To get enough EPA and DHA—many experts recommend 500 to 1,000 mg per day—you would need to eat at least two servings of fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel each week. Not to mention the requisite nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy oils to hit your ALA requirements. Many guys, even the healthier ones out there, don’t even come close!
That’s where omega 3 supplements come into play!
Read on to learn how omega 3 supplements, stocked with ALA, EPA and DHA, can boost your athletic performance!
1. They’ll Speed Your Exercise Recovery
After tough training sessions, your muscles are left riddled with microscopic tears? Those tears, when healed, will make you stronger, bigger, and faster! Omega 3s are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help make that recovery process happen, says Kari Ikemoto, R.D., a registered dietitian with HealthCare Partners in California.
2. They’ll Make You Stronger
You’ll still have to pump some iron to score those 20-inch biceps you’ve been vying for, but omega 3s may help things along. Besides decreasing muscle breakdown, omega 3 fatty acids increase protein synthesis—the process in which your muscles transform the protein you eat into the protein in your biceps, Ikemoto says. For instance, in a 2011 study of healthy men and women, Washington University researchers found that omega 3s increased the subjects’ muscle-building response to insulin and amino acids, both of which are released in the body during exercise.
3. They’ll Make DOMS a Thing of the Past
Another benefit of omega 3s’ Include reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness.) You know, the ache that leaves you limping for two days after you hit the squat rack. In one Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine study, omega 3 supplementation markedly reduced men’s levels of perceived pain and their range of motion 48 hours post exercise.
4. They’ll Boost Your Reaction Time
The human brain is nearly 60 percent fat, so it’s no shocker that omega 3 fatty acids help the heap of wrinkly fat do its thing. The fatty acids have been shown to improve cognitive functioning, and play a critical role in both visual processing and signaling, according to research out of Taiwan. Meanwhile, they are vital components of nerve endings, neurons, and muscle membranes, says sports dietitian Lisa Dorfman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., an ambassador with American Pistachio Growers. For instance, in one Journal of Sports Science & Medicine study, soccer players dramatically improved their reaction time with just four weeks!
5. They’ll Reduce Your Risk of Overuse Injuries
Apart from speeding exercise recovery, omega 3s fend off workout-ending injuries by preventing tissue degradation, easing inflammation, boosting blood and oxygen flow to muscles, increasing range of motion, and relieving joint tenderness, Dorfman says.
6. They’ll Make Your Muscles Work Better
By helping signals get from one cell to another ASAP, the omega 3s in your body’s nerve endings, neurons, and muscle membranes direct your body’s overall neuromuscular function. In a 2015 Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study of male athletes, supplementation with a DHA and EPA led to greater increases in neuromuscular function (they increased thigh function by 20 percent!), and far less muscle fatigue.
7. Omega 3 fatty acids can help you burn any excess fat
Weighing down your athletic gains? In one Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition study, researchers found that daily omega 3 supplementation significantly decreased adults’ fat mass in just six weeks. Ikemoto explains this is because having adequate levels of omega 3s allows your body to better burn fat for energy while exercising.
8. They’ll Make Your Workouts Feel Easier
Part of omega 3s’ heart-health benefit is that they decrease heart rate and the amount of oxygen your body burns through every minute, Ikemoto says. On game day, that’s huge. It means that, during every minute of exercise, your body needs less oxygen than does your competitor. It takes less energy to run a marathon, kick a goal, or make a tackle, she says.
9. They’ll Keep Your Bones from Snapping
If you’re into contact sports like football, soccer, or rugby, broken bones are a real concern. Luckily, research published in Current Pharmaceutical Design suggests that omega 3s work to prevent brittle bones. Researchers believe the fatty acids may increase your body’s level of calcium absorption and mediate bone growth.
10. They’ll Fight Exercise-Induced Asthma
By reducing inflammation, omega 3s can make a big difference in the life of asthma sufferers, Dorfman says. For instance, in a 2013 Respiratory Medicine study, omega 3 supplementation drastically improved lung function and reduced airway inflammation in people who regularly suffer exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (aka exercise-induced asthma.)
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Sources: American Heart Association, Kari Ikemoto, R.D., a registered dietitian with HealthCare Partners, Washington University, Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, Men's Journal by K. Aleisha Fetters, Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, Respiratory Medicine