Why Omega-3s are Extra Helpful for Strength Athletes?

Omega-3s are crucial for everyone, but athletes can’t skip them to stay healthy. Read this post about the importance of Omega-3s for strength athletes!

When athletes look for nutrient or vitamin supplements, they don't need a supplement that can provide a single benefit. Instead, they need a nutrient that can provide multiple benefits to avoid taking too many supplements. Omega-3s are nutrients that athletes need for different body functions and improve their overall health status. This post will cover why Omega-3s are extra helpful for strength athletes.

Benefits of Omega-3s for Athletes

You might have heard that you need Omega-3s for the proper functioning of your brain, but that's not the only benefit you get by using these nutrients. Here is how Omega-3s help athletes in achieving their goals:

  1. Inflammation

When you exercise, your muscles can become fatigued due to oxidative stress, which can cause chronic inflammation (1). Omega-3 can decrease the inflammatory response in the body and help the body get rid of the inflammation soon after strenuous exercise. It also combats excessive oxidative stress.

  1. Joint Pain

Injuries are common during exercise, and joint pain is one of the major issues of most athletes. One of the benefits of Omega-3 that athletes tell is this nutrient's ability to reduce joint pain. It's considered helpful even in cases of severe pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

  1. Recovery

Studies show that Omega-3 can help speed up recovery (2) after strenuous exercise by reducing muscle soreness common in athletes. Recent research for confirming the effectiveness of Omega-3 for athletes took two groups, one with 14 males and the other placebo. The first group was given an Omega-3 supplement daily, and the placebo group didn't receive any Omega-3.

The study results showed that muscle soreness after exercise in the Omega-3 group was lower than the placebo group when checked 24 hours after the workout. Also, it was observed that the amount of an inflammatory immune protein, IL-6, was more in the placebo group than in the Omega-3 group.

  1. Endurance Performance

When you’re working out, your muscles need more oxygen to work. Studies say that Omega-3s can increase oxygen supply to muscles and widen blood vessels to improve heart health, which is essential for enhancing endurance performance (3).

  1. Muscle Growth

Your muscles grow when they use the protein you consume in the form of a diet for muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Omega-3s play an important role in the process of muscle growth by promoting muscle protein synthesis. The rate of muscle breakdown should be lower than muscle synthesis for muscle growth (4). A brief study was conducted to see the benefits of Omega-3 for muscle growth, and the result showed that Omega-3 intake could help improve and maintain muscle growth.

Sources of Omega-3s

The natural sources of Omega-3s are:

  • Fish

  • Shellfish

  • Walnuts

  • Chia seeds

  • Flax seeds

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Avocados

  • Fish Oil

If the natural sources aren’t enough to provide the required amount of Omega-3s, then supplementation is recommended. But, make sure to consult an expert before using any supplements.

Recommended Dose of Omega-3s

There is no specific dose of Omega-3s recommended officially. Experts say that if you take around 2500 to 5000 milligrams of Omega-3s per day (5), it will be enough for all of your body functions performed by this nutrient. If you eat 1000 grams of salmon, tuna, swordfish, sardines, and other fatty fish, it will provide 500-1000 milligrams of Omega-3s, your recommended daily dose. 

While getting the required dose of Omega-3, you should consider the appropriate amount of Omega-6 consumed. The recommended ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 is 1:3, and you should make sure not to go beyond this safe limit. The same enzyme processes Omega-3 and Omega-6, so competition for the enzyme exists between them. If you consume too much Omega-6, your body will not be able to process Omega-3, resulting in a rise of Omega-6 and a decrease in Omega-3. High levels of Omega-6 can cause obesity, heart disease, cancer, depression, and many other serious health issues.

When You Should Take Omega-3 Supplements?

Supplements are not for everyone, and you shouldn't take them if your trainer or doctor doesn't recommend them. In some of the following situations, you can take Omega-3 supplements:

  • Athletes can take Omega-3 supplements if they can't get their recommended amount from natural sources. Their bodies can’t function properly under strenuous exercises in case of nutrient deficiency, so supplements become important.

  • As Omega-3 can reduce inflammation and stress, the supplements are recommended for athletes suffering or recovering from an injury.

If you start Omega-3 supplementation, keep a close check on your daily Omega-3 intake from natural sources. The recommended dose is crucial, but overdosing can cause many health issues.

Bottom Line

Omega-3 is an important nutrient for everyone, but athletes need it more due to the multiple benefits it provides during challenging tasks. It can combat joint pain and inflammation, promote muscle growth, etc. Before using any supplements, consult your doctor or trainer to get customized dosage instructions based on your needs!

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31829100/

https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-020-00405-1

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19034030/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21501117/

https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/28/2/article-p104.xml