The 9 Benefits of Fish Oil
By Sara Lynn February 24, 2017
Fish oil can be obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements. Fish that are especially rich in the beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids include mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout, and menhaden. They provide about 1 gram of omega-3 fatty acids in about 3.5 ounces of fish.
Omega-3 supplementation plays an important role in health and performance throughout life. These nutrients are most often associated with heart health, but they do far more than that. The following are 9 important benefits omega-3s play in the health of the very young, very old and everyone in between. Read this, then go take your fish oil!
1. Increased Protein Synthesis
Omega-3s are most well-known for their effects on inflammation and heart health, but they actually have a powerful effect on increasing protein synthesis, one of the key factors in muscle growth.
Of the two most important omega-3s, DHA and EPA, it appears EPA has the most significant effect on protein synthesis.
This muscle-stimulating effect occurs when combined with amino acid or protein consumption, not when consumed alone. In fact, research has shown that protein synthesis can be increased by 30% when omega-3s are combined with a sufficient amount of protein or amino acids, compared to amino acids or protein alone!
These kinds of results have been shown in healthy young, middle aged and older men and women.
2. Decreased Protein Breakdown
Muscle growth is a result of increasing protein synthesis and/or decreasing protein breakdown. The regulation of protein breakdown is controlled by a different process than protein synthesis, and evidence shows omega-3s, especially EPA, reduces protein breakdown. In other words, EPA plays two unique roles in muscle growth. It stimulates protein synthesis and reduces protein breakdown by acting on completely different mechanisms in muscle metabolism.
3. Enhanced Immune Function
It's a huge bummer when you get sidelined from your training and nutrition program because you're sick. This is another area fish oil can play an important role in fitness and performance. It's been shown to support the function of white blood cells, key cells in your immune system.
4. Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Excessive body fat, or adipose tissue, disrupts the body's ability to manage blood sugar and maintain insulin sensitivity in muscle and fat tissue. Supplementing with omega-3s has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, but the mechanisms by which it happens are still being uncovered.
5. Improved Nutrient Delivery to Cells
Higher intakes of omega-3s actually change the composition of the cell membrane. A higher percentage of omega-3s in the cell membrane allows for an easier flow of nutrients in and out of the cell. The percentage of omega-3s in the cell membrane can easily be measured through a finger stick blood test.
6. Increased Metabolic Rate
The ability for omega-3s to boost metabolism is more theoretical than proven at this point. However, as a cell's health improves, due to the improved nutrient delivery mentioned above, the thought is that it may allow for an increased metabolic rate.
7. Reduced Inflammation
Omega-3s are most well-known for their heart health benefits. Their heart health benefits are most related to the effect of omega-3s on inflammation.
When quality fish oil is taken at efficacious dosages, they have a significant effect on the body's inflammatory response. For example,
"In a study that used human blood samples, EPA+DHA intake changed the expression of 1040 genes and resulted in a decreased expression of genes involved in inflammatory and atherogenesis-related pathways."
Imagine that! The habit of taking fish oil every day has a positive effect on more than 1000 genes that regulation inflammation! Those who do a lot of chronic cardio or large amounts of endurance training should make their omega-3 supplementation a top priority.
8. Reduced Triglyceride Levels
EPA has been shown to support lower triglyceride levels. That's actually how Lovaza, the pharmaceutical fish oil, because a prescription medication. There really isn't anything special about it. It's a high-quality, high-concentration fish oil that was created to treat a specific condition. If you do have elevated triglycerides, or you have a family member who isn't ready to make dietary changes, supplementing with fish oil can help improve his or her lipid profile quickly. Of course, a reduced-carbohydrate, low-sugar diet will drop triglyceride levels the fastest.
9. Improved Brain Health
DHA seems to play an important role in brain health throughout life. DHA is passed from the mother to her unborn baby, and is important for the developing brain. Many studies have shown large differences in later development when comparing babies born from mothers who supplemented with fish oil and those who did not. For example, at 2.5 years after birth, toddlers of mothers who supplemented with fish oil had significantly improved hand and eye coordination compared to toddlers of mothers who did not supplement. The effect of DHA on brain health seems to continue throughout life. Some research points at DHA consumption being important at warding off Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive diseases.
Nutricelebrity Recommended Fish Oil
Carlson Elite Omega-3 Fish Oil 1250 mg, 90 Softgels
Contains 1250 mg of a concentrate of fish body oils from deep, cold water fish
700 mg EPA & DHA Per Soft Gel
Potency & Quality Guaranteed
Retail Price: $29.90
Vitamins and Supplements Guide
May 6, 2014
From helping the body turn food into fuel, to fortifying bones and eyesight, vitamins and minerals are necessary for living a healthy lifestyle.
Probiotics: All You Need To Know
May 14, 2014
Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines.