DO ATHLETES NEED OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS?

People often consider having omega 3 fatty acids to reduce their triglyceride levels and to keep their arteries healthy. It is ideal for the brain, joint, eye and skin.

Nutrition affects the metabolism and functioning of the body. So, apart from having a nutritious protein diet, the consumption of omega 3 fatty acid is a must for athletes as they not only increase their stamina and muscle recovery, it helps achieve their goals and remain fit.

Why is it important to take fish oil supplements?

Our body depends upon the dietary sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Type - Long-chain fatty acid, EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid)

Source:- Fish oil supplements (made by extracting fish oil from fatty fish), fish and algae extract

Type- Short-chain form, ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)

Source - Nuts, Flaxseeds, Chia seeds, Avocados, Olive Oil

When the body processes long-chain fatty acids and ALA from various plant sources, it is converted into EPA, which then converts into DHA. The efficiency of conversion to DHA is low.

What are the potential benefits for athletes?

  May reduce muscle soreness

As omega 3 fatty acids offer anti-inflammatory properties, it helps reduce delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), commonly seen in weightlifters. In a randomised study, it was observed that after 8 weeks of supplementation of 2,400 mg of fish oil, it helped inhibit the development of DOMS compared with a placebo group.

Improve workout performance

It may help increase muscle strength by reducing a decline in the strength needed to perform intense exercises.

  • May Improve cardio-respiratory functioning

They help decrease the uptake of fuel used for energy during a physical performance or while playing any athletic sports.

  • Increases Bone joint health

They help reduce the chances of a fracture as it promotes bone mineralisation and in turn bone density.

  • Better mental health

Adequate levels of EPA and DHA support the release of serotonin levels and help balance mood and anti-inflammatory effects on the nerve cells, and reduces the chances of anxiety.

Thus, athletes often experience physiological stress, inflammation, oxidative stress. Omega 3 fatty acids have the potential to mitigate these exercise-induced changes.

These fatty acids have several benefits for athletes, such as reduced soreness of muscles after a workout, less severe DOMS, optimal training gains, enhanced recovery and minimum risk of falling ill. Omega 3 fatty acid supplements have the potential to be an ergogenic aid by enhancing training and sports performance.

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