Omega 3 benefits and why to increase their intake

Lets talk about omega 3 benefits, or fish oil benefits. Fish oil contains, two important omega 3 acids, namely EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid).

Omega 3 benefits aren’t immediate, they build up through days, weeks and months of use. That means that over time with consistent intake, the benefits can be felt and seen.

Omega 3 or fish oil as is the common term used to refer to two important omega 3 acids – DHA and EPA.

These omega 3 fatty acids are mostly found in fish, while some can be also found in other animal products. The reason fish oil is recommended as a source is the price. It’s the cheapest and most common source of them.

Fish oil due to its content provides a variety of omega 3 benefits when supplemented.
Increased intake is associated with healthier blood vessels, lower lipid count and even a reduced risk of plaque buildup. It can also decrease the risk of certain forms of cancer, including breast cancer for example.

On top of that it improve endothelial (blood vessel) function, reduce inflammation, and increase provision of energy from fat, which is great for athletes and nonathletes.

Omega 3 benefits
Just scratching the surface

SKELETAL MUSCLE ANABOLISM

Lets start with the first and most important benefits, the vanity ones. Regardless if you’re young or old, there are great omega 3 benefits, when it comes to body composition.

In conclusion, 6 weeks of supplemental fish oil significantly increased lean mass, and significantly reduced fat mass in healthy adults. We conclude that LCn-3PUFAs have anabolic properties in healthy young and middle-aged adults. (Smith et al., 2011)

But considering that sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of muscle mass quality, which is very important if we want to age healthily, you could also make a sound argument, that muscle mass isn’t just about vanity.

With sarcopenia comes loss of function and independence. A big party pooper. But luckily omega 3 prevents that.

Omega-3 fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis in older adults and may be useful for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia (Smith et al., 2011).

CONSISTENTLY LOWERS INFLAMMATION

As mentioned before, omega 3 benefits also include lowering inflammation. They reduce the exercise induced inflammation, decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS for the gym fanatics) and increase the rate of recovery.

That means you can increase your volume and make bigger improvements in shorter amount of time. What’s not to like here?

IMPROVES JOINT HEALTH

As anecdotal evidence I would offer my own experience. Due to the wear and tear of weightlifting and hell, just regular daily struggles of life my joints started to be “felt”.

I decided to try increasing my omega 3 intake, and that turned out to work like a charm. It turns out there is a lot of evidence and studies that prove it’s efficacy.

There is high level evidence (meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials) for symptomatic benefits from fish oil use in rheumatoid arthritis, and there is biologic plausibility for its clinical effects (Proudman et al., 2008).

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS IMPROVE COGNITION

Fish oil supplementation has been associated with improving cognitive abilities including reaction time, decision making, and stabilizing mood.

Participants’ brains worked ‘less hard’ and achieved a better cognitive performance than prior to supplementation (Bauer, et al., 2014).

On top of that, four studies on omega 3 benefits assessed their effects on treating dementia, and found a trend in favor of its use.

As the intake of omega 3 fatty acids, be it in fish or supplemental oil form, lowered the risk of dementia and improved cognitive function (Issa et al., 2006).

REDUCES THE RISK OF STROKE AND HEART ATTACK

Fish oil has improved exercise performance in some but not all studies. In most of the studies, fish oil increased cardiovascular health even if performance was not enhanced to a statistically significant degree.

Fish oil can reduce heart rate during rest and exercise implying a more efficient heart. This effect is perhaps because of direct effects on electrophysiological function of the heart. It can also lower high blood pressure (Hill et al., 2007).

IMPROVES BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Brain function and vision rely on dietary intake of DHA to support a broad range of cell membrane properties, particularly in grey matter, which is rich in membranes.

A major structural component of the mammalian brain, DHA is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain.

Thus although omega 3 intake is important for health reasons, It’s even more important during your adolescence years.

OMEGA 3 BENEFITS – FOOD OR SUPPLEMENTATION

Although there are additional omega 3 benefits, like improved skin health and skin elasticity I decided to focus more on the important ones. Basically, however you look, they’re worth the money – just sayin.

Generally I would recommend you get your omega 3 benefits through food – namely sea food. But sadly that is not always feasible. Be it due to certain conditions. It could be the price, it could be the region you live, your dislike of certain foods etc.

In which case I strongly recommend supplementation. Now not all fish oil supplements are equal. There are lower-grade fish oil supplements can be contaminated with heavy metals, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), or other toxins.

Pharmaceutical grade fish oils are purified and should contain negligible quantities of these toxins. And in addition, you should get fish oil that has added vitamin E, as vitamin E is an antioxidant.

If you want to get full omega 3 benefits you need to ingest non rancid ones.

As monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are more prone to oxidation, atleast compared to saturated fats, nature always pairs up vitamin E with them. Nuts are a great example, a lot of unsaturated fats and vitamin E .


 

REFERENCES
  1. Noreen, E. E., Sass, M. J., Crowe, M. L., Pabon, V. A., Brandauer, J., & Averill, L. K. (2010). Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1), 31. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1550-2783-7-31
  2. Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia–hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women. Clinical science, 121(6), 267-278. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499967/
  3. Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 93(2), 402-412. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21159787
  4. Bauer, I., Hughes, M., Rowsell, R., Cockerell, R., Pipingas, A., Crewther, S., & Crewther, D. (2014). Omega‐3 supplementation improves cognition and modifies brain activation in young adults. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 29(2), 133-144. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24470182
  5. Proudman, S. M., Cleland, L. G., & James, M. J. (2008). Dietary omega-3 fats for treatment of inflammatory joint disease: efficacy and utility. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America, 34(2), 469-479.
  6. Issa, A. M., Mojica, W. A., Morton, S. C., Traina, S., Newberry, S. J., Hilton, L. G., … & MacLean, C. H. (2006). The efficacy of omega–3 fatty acids on cognitive function in aging and dementia: a systematic review. Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders, 21(2), 88-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16340205
  7. Hill, A. M., Buckley, J. D., Murphy, K. J., & Howe, P. R. (2007). Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 85(5), 1267-1274. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/5/1267.long

 

Related Post

How to improve sleep HOW TO IMPROVE SLEEP One of the most important thing for weight loss, muscle building and health in general is sleep, the quality of it, and getting ...
Casein protein vs whey protein Before the casein protein vs whey protein question I remember the days of yore when I first started going to the gym. I knew I had to buy protein powd...
Meal plan to lose weight – Steaks and eggs In a previous article of mine, I said I would write about one of the easiest ways to lose fat. Its a very simple yet effective meal plan to lose weigh...
How to lower high blood pressure Although there are a lot of people who have high blood pressure, a lot of them don't bother with how to lower high blood pressure.They tend to thi...

Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the “why” of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don’t, and that’s fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that’s why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

wpDiscuz