Do Omega 3 Fatty Acids Improve Sports Performance?
Whether the athlete is an amateur or a professional, the use of supplements is becoming very popular in the sporting world. Each one promises benefits for improved performance, building muscle strength and increasing stamina. Omega 3’s are one of the most sought after supplements today. Under a sports nutrition program a qualified fitness nutritionist can guide you in the usage of omega 3 as a supplement.
Now, omega-3 fatty acids have an ability to reduce inflammation. Intense exercise puts considerable stress on our bodies and leads to the production offree radicals, which damageour body’s cells (oxidative stress)leading to inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids help inreducingthe inflammation. So, here are how are the omega 3’s helpful to athletes:
For strength: There is research in the athletic population that shows that omega 3 supplementation can help in muscle growth with strength training and it also helps in preserving muscle with restriction in calories.
For endurance: Omega 3 fatty acids help in increasing the flow of oxygen into the skeletal muscle during exercise. It has also been shown to reduce the heart rate and perceived exertion during an aerobic activity.
For recovery: There is some evidence stating that omega 3’s are essential for muscle recovery and protective against oxidative stress post exercise. But one needs to remember that along with the omega 3’s the intake of carbs, protein and fluids are also essential for recovery.
Cognition: In a recent study positive effects were found for reaction time and mood states which were consistent across sports with fish oil supplements.
So, based on what the current studies have to tell us, omega 3’s have a potential to improve performance in athletes. As per the International Olympic Committee a dose of around 2 gms per day of omega 3 fatty acids is recommended. It would be prudent to get the omega 3 fatty acids from foods like fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, tuna or from nuts like almonds or from seeds like flax seeds and chia seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are part of the polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) family. They are the essential fats, which means our body cannot create them on its own, therefore we need to consume them.
Today, performance nutrition is an emerging field under which athletes can be guided to eat right along with the use of the appropriate supplements for better performance. A sports and fitness nutritionist is the right person to guide an athlete in this program.