Sports Health

Based on current studies, Omega-3 supplementation plays a role in improving training intensity, exercise recovery, injury prevention and overall performance in athletes

International Olympic Committee

The IOC supports that 2g of Omega-3 fatty acids per day may assist with training capacity, recovery, muscle soreness and injury management.

Muscle Growth & Muscle Mass

There is evidence to support that Omega-3 supplementation can facilitate muscle growth and help preserve muscle mass.

Oxygen Efficiency & Recovery

Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence suggests Omega-3 supplementation can reduce muscle soreness and lessens oxidative damage to muscles.

Omega-3 fatty acids as a potential ergogenic aid

Ergogenic aids are substances or devices that may help an individual to exercise, improve exercise efficiency, enhance recovery from exercise or assist in injury prevention during intense training. The Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have shown potential as an ergogenic aid in several studies. The positive impact on sport performance observed from Omega-3s is increased muscle strength, endurance capacity and reduced muscle soreness to mention a few.

Reduced recovery time

High intensity exercise produces muscular myofibril ruptures which in turn causes inflammation, muscle damage, muscle soreness and muscle fatigue. While recovering, the impaired muscle may be experience a decrease in strength, decrease in range of motion and of course muscle soreness. EPA and DHA are key components to control inflammation in our body and therefore may contribute to reduce muscle damage and faster recovery by reducing inflammation. One study showed the most pronounced effects for all the measures studied were in the group supplemented with the highest dose of Omega-3 (4200 EPA + DHA mg/day) following eccentric exercise.

Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Some athletes such as American football players, may experience an increased risk for cardiovascular disease compared with the general population. The omega-3 index is an
easy measure of the body’s omega-3 status, and an omega-3 index at or above 8% is associated with the greatest cardio protection. A study including 34 different sports and 298 college athletes found that none of the athletes had an omega-3 index above 8%. This reinforces the argument for athletes to incorporate omega-3 supplementation as part of their exercise regime.

Recommended daily intake (RDI)

Due to Omega-3s undeniable role in human health, the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends consuming 1-2 servings of oily fish per week as part of an optimal diet for healthy individuals. This recommendation is equivalent to 200-500 mg of omega-3 EPA and DHA per day. The International Olympic Committee recommends a dosage of about 2 g per day of Omega-3 fatty acids, either from supplements or fatty fish. Research indicates that Omega-3s also decrease the risk of upper respiratory infections and  inflammation – which is beneficial to both athletes and non-athletes alike.

Photo: Rune Myreng

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