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Nutritional News

From our 3 Care Science Newsletter Six Reasons Athletes Need Omega-3

Posted: August 13, 2014
By: Dr John McAtamney

Six Reasons Athletes Need Omega-3

It’s a fact that everybody needs adequate omega-3 intake. But did you know supplementing with omega-3 offers significant benefits for athletes? If you have an active lifestyle, make sure you’re not missing out on all the good stuff omega-3 supplements can provide. Here are just five of the top reasons athletes should consider a daily omega-3 supplement.

  1. DHA reduces the damaging effects of brain trauma. Studies by the United States Army and other research groups indicate that increasing brain levels of DHA calms the inflammatory response to head injury or impact. Reducing inflammation minimizes damage and increases recovery time. Whether it is soccer, American football, skate boarding, or most other sports and physical pursuits, the potential for cranial impact is high.
  2. Fish oil boosts protein synthesis. It’s been shown to improve the anabolic effect of exercise and improve protein metabolism. What does that mean for you? Better muscle gains from strength training.
  3. Fish oil increases muscle strength and physical performance. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may exert an important influence on muscle function, helping to improve muscular strength, physical performance, and functional capacity. In a test group, people who strength trained without fish oil supplementation did not show as much of an increase in their strength than a group that strength trained and supplemented with fish oil.
  4. Fish oil helps the body recover after a tough workout. Omega-3 supplementation has been shown to reduce exercise-related inflammation and muscle soreness, enabling people to get back to the gym sooner. It also helps improve the body’s reaction to exercise-induced stress, which can potentially benefit the immune system.
  5. Fish oil improves cardiovascular function. In a group trial of male cyclists, omega-3 supplementation lowered heart rate, whole-body oxygen consumption, and the heart’s oxygen consumption. Another trial, involving wrestlers, showed an improvement in lung function when omega-3 supplements were taken daily. Research indicates that fish oil supplementation may help to improve both heart and lung function in athletes with and without exercise-induced airway constriction.
  6. Fish oil improves cognitive ability. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may serve to enhance decision making and reaction time efficiency in athletes by increasing communication between the brain and body. Fish oil has been associated with improved attention, reduced reaction times, and increased vigor in healthy subjects – good news for anyone playing team sports or competing.