Okay we know that fish oil is healthy for us. That's been proven.
Now we are starting to see some benefits for muscle growth.There has been great research surfacing about how fish oil can help build lean muscle mass without having to work so hard. Don’t get me wrong, we still have to work our butts off, but some studies show, and fitness experts swear, that adding fish oil to our diets will help build the bodies we want faster and betSo now let me share with you a little science and nutrition. If you’re like me, this part might seem a little jargon-heavy, but stay with me because it’ll all make sense (I promise).
Dr. Mauro Di Pasquala, a world-renowned expert on nutrition and sports medicine, states there may be a connection between fish oil and muscle health. He says the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are particularly beneficial because these essential fatty acids (EFAs) slow down, or even inhibit, muscle proteolysis, which is the breaking down of muscle proteins. Proteins are the "building blocks of life"; the body uses protein to rebuild and repair tissue on the muscles and organs. Protein is the ONLY macronutrient that builds and maintains muscles, so it is important especially for an athlete or someone trying to build muscle to consume an adequate amount of protein daily.
Basically, if you don’t get the proper amount of protein in your diet, your body will struggle to make new proteins and will actually start to break down muscle you already have. If you’re like me and trying to build muscle, you certainly cannot afford to lose any just because of improper nutrition! I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need a slower metabolism than I already have and if protein will help, then you better believe I will be getting my daily share!
If our body needs protein to keep what we’ve got and build on what we have, then one can surmise that protein needs fish oil to get the job done right.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri examined the effects of fish oil on protein synthesis, which is the process in which cells build proteins. The researchers found after conducting several studies in both young and older adults that omega-3 fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can substantially increase the anabolic effects of the post-workout window when insulin and amino acid concentrations spike. In other words, your body keeps lifting weights long after you’ve left the gym when you add fish oil to your protein-filled diet.
I’ve given you science and we’ve talked about an amazing three-year-old, but what about fish oil? Does it really help build lean muscle mass? Charles Poliquin, a Canadian strength training coach, has trained and/or consulted numerous world class athletes and professional sports teams. He is a huge advocate of fish oil and offers some great scientific explanations as to why fish oil works on his website, but one of my favorite things about his website is the story he tells about his experience when he added 45 grams of fish oil to a first-round draft pick for the NFL and the player put on 29 pounds of lean body mass in one month. Who wouldn’t want results like that?
But many trainers, strength coaches and nutritionists will question which component,EPA and DHA, are more valuable.
It has long been written that DHA has no benefits due to its neurological benefits, especially for infants.
But Dr.Barry Sears, one of the foremost experts on fish oil, argues that EPA may be more helpful.
Dr. Sears explained that there has been a growing body of knowledge that women who consume fish or fish oil supplements have less post-partum depression, and their children have improved cognitive development. However, fish and fish oil supplements always contain a mixture of EPA and DHA.
“Because the brain contains relatively low amounts of EPA compared to DHA, it has always been assumed that it was the DHA that gave rise to these benefits. In fact, an entire industry was built on the concept of supplementing infant formulas with DHA would improve the neurological health of both the mother and child. Of course, no one ever tested this hypothesis until now,” said Dr. Sears.
He noted, “The October issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published an article looking at the dietary supplementation with a fish oil supplement exceptionally high in DHA and very low in EPA. Unfortunately, the results were the opposite of the prevailing thoughts. In fact, the researchers found no cognitive benefits for either the mother or child. This calls into question why we are supplementing infant formulas with DHA.”
Dr. Sears said, “The answer is that benefits of fish consumption or fish oil supplementation are due to the EPA, not the DHA.”
He added that both EPA and DHA get into the brain, but the EPA is rapidly oxidized, whereas the DHA is shunted into long-term storage. “This explains why there is little EPA found in the brain, leading to the misconception that it isn’t important in the brain. However, while the EPA is present in the brain, it can act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.”
Dr. Sears hypothesized, “It is this anti-inflammatory action that is responsible for the neurological benefits. This is confirmed by numerous studies in which DHA has little, if any benefits, in treating depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, whereas fish oils rich in EPA do have remarkable benefits.