By: Brooke Bouis, MS
Fish Oil Enhances Strength Training and Muscle Recovery
Omega-3 fatty acids are vital to every cell in your body. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that must be obtained from your diet or from a supplement form since your body is unable to make this nutrient. Experts agree omega-3 fatty acids encourage the production of specific chemicals which reduce inflammation. The cardiovascular benefits of supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids have been well researched and documented. However, new research is now suggesting a positive correlation to supplementing with fish oil and athletic performance; specifically muscle recovery.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently published a study concluding fish oil supplementation increased muscle strength and functional capacity “beyond the benefits of exercise alone.” (1) Researchers suggest the benefits of fish oil supplementation in regards to muscle recovery increases the efficiency of oxygen absorption into the skeletal muscle cells which helps to promote resistance to muscle fatigue. (2) The participants in this study supplemented with around 800 mg EPA and DHA per day. This dose can be consumed by eating approximately 9 ounces total of oily fish, such as salmon or tuna, a week or by taking supplements.
Helpful Guidelines When Choosing an Omega-3 Supplement:
· Third-party test results for purity and freshness - A third-party certificate of analysis indicates the levels of purity from environmental toxins, and the oxidation level (or freshness) of the oil.
· Manufacturing standards - Is the fish oil manufactured according to international quality standards?
- Smell and taste - Does the fish oil smell or taste fishy? If so, the fish oil has most likely been exposed to oxygen and is becoming rancid. Rancid (oxidized) oils should be avoided, as they yield less-than-healthy effects. Avoid fish oils that have really strong flavorings added to them because they are most likely trying to hide the fishy flavor of rancid oil.
- Supportive scientific research to prove the efficacy of the fish oil brand.
- Sustainable fishing practices - Any environmentally responsible fish oil manufacturer should offer transparency into their fishing practices.(3)
Brooke Bouis, MS
Brooke Bouis holds a Master of Science Degree in Human Nutrition and is a published medical author. She is an avid crossfitter at CrossFit Blaze and resides in Naples, Florida with her husband and son.
1. Rodacki, CL, et al. Fish-oil supplementation enhances the effects of strength training in elderly women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Feb; 95(2_: 428-36).
2. Peoples, G. and McLennan, P. Dietary fish oil reduces skeletal muscle oxygen consumption, provides fatigue resistance and improves contractile recovery in the rat in vivo hindlimb. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec; 104(12): 1771-9.
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