The omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA that come in fish oil, can make you stronger and leaner for optimal athletic performance.
Fish oil reduces inflammation, accelerates recovery, enhances cognition and mood, increases range of motion and conveys other benefits as well.
A recent review showed that trained athletes may benefit more than untrained individuals from omega-3 supplementation.
One study found that when men did unilateral knee extensions for four weeks, with the other leg acting as a control, muscle cellular health improved to a greater degree in the trained leg than in the untrained leg.
A second study showed that young athletes who supplemented with 3 grams of EPA and DHA daily replaced the pro-inflammatory omega-6 Arachidonic Acid in the cell muscle membrane, resulting in less waste production in response to intense eccentric exercise.
The implications are as follows:
- Better energy use and improved fat metabolism
- Improved transport of red blood cells through the muscle capillary bed for enhanced oxygen delivery to the muscle
- Less soreness, muscle pain and DOMS, allowing for accelerated recovery from intense training
- Increased protein synthesis for greater muscle growth and strength
- Enhanced activation of the mTOR pathway involved in muscle building and long-term hypertrophy
Fish oil is recommended for athletes who are under physical and environmental stress. Studies show that when volleyball athletes were on a calorie-restricted, high-protein diet to improve body composition, a diet high in omega-3s improved antioxidant status and body fat loss.
Sports scientists suggest omega-3s can enhance performance at high altitudes, in extreme heat or cold, or when competing without complete recovery.
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