Essential Omega-3 nutrients have a wealth of potential health benefits that contribute to an athlete’s healthy lifestyle and training routine. When it comes to understanding the benefits of Omega-3s for athletes, new research suggests that athletic performance may be supported with the proper amount of Omega-3s in your diet. From recovery to endurance building, Omegas are there to help you on your journey.
What are Omega-3s?
Omega-3s are a type of fatty acid essential to the healthy functioning of our bodies. The human body can’t make Omega-3s on its own, so instead, these nutrients need to be ingested through diet and supplementation, including foods that naturally contain high levels of Omega-3s.
There are three main types of Omega-3s: DHA, EPA, and ALA. EPA and DHA are primarily found in fish, while ALA is primarily found in nuts and seeds. When it comes to the best Omega-3s for your body, EPA and DHA reign supreme. They are more readily absorbed into your body, while ALA is inefficiently converted by the body into the fatty acids that the body needs.
When it comes to getting the right Omega-3s for athletes, you’ll want to make sure that you’re concentrating on DHA and EPA. Although many people try to get EPA and DHA through their diet alone, nearly 70% of Americans do not get enough Omega-3s. If you can’t eat more fish, you may consider taking a supplement, such as krill oil, daily to get more Omega-3s into your diet.
How Much Omega-3s Do I Need for Training?
Performance athletes (just like us regular folks!) need the same recommended doses of Omega-3s of 250 to 500 mg of EPA and DHA per day, whether from diet or supplementation. There is no research to suggest that increasing your Omega-3 intake improves performance; Omega-3s are a part of maintaining a healthy diet so that you can perform at your best for whatever activities you enjoy.
Is Krill Oil or Fish Oil better for Athletes?
There are three main supplements that contain EPA and DHA: krill oil, fish oil, and algae oil. One of the biggest differentiators between krill oil and fish and algae oil is that krill oil delivers Omega-3s in their most natural phospholipid form that our bodies like. Fish oil loses this form during processing. Some research suggests krill oil is more absorbent than fish oil.
Another advantage of krill oil over other Omega-3 supplements is that krill oil contains choline. Choline is an organic, water-soluble compound that works tobreak down fat in your liver. Some studies have shown that this essential nutrient may lower cholesterol and fat content. As an athlete, having enough choline in your diet may help with athletic performance (more on that in a minute).
Benefits of Omega-3s for Athletes
May Help Reduce Injuries and Soreness
One of the biggest contributors to injuries in athletes - especially those who train often - is inflammation. Many studies have been done on EPA and DHA that have shown the potential to regulate inflammation.
Another potential added benefit of regulating inflammation is helping to manage soreness. A small study showed that those who regularly took Omega-3s did not experience as much muscle soreness after a workout versus those that took a placebo. When you’re less sore, you can keep up your rigorous workout routine without too much downtime.
Might Help Promote Cardiovascular Workouts
Omega-3s have long been potentially linked to supporting heart health. The heart benefits of Omega-3s may aid in promoting more efficient cardiovascular workouts. One study of long-distance runners showed that those who took an Omega-3 supplement were able to run longer distances. These results may suggest that Omega-3s may help cardiovascular workouts.
Choline In Krill Oil May Aid in Endurance Training
Choline can help the liver break down fats. When you work out, your body is actively breaking down fat to use as energy. But here’s the catch, your brain needs fats too and if given the choice, your body will favor your brain over your muscles.
In one study, those who had enough choline in their body were able to increase their endurance over time more easily than those who didn’t receive enough choline, since their body was able to use fats both for brain and muscle function.
Athletic pursuits demand proper nutrition to support the extra exertion. Learn how to be a more super you and discover how krill oil may help aid in your athletic ability by subscribing to our newsletter.