Krill Oil Benefits for Performance Athletes
Whether you’re a weekend warrior who gets up for a sunrise hike or a marathoner training for your next race, all bodies in motion require the best care in order to perform at their best. Omega-3 fatty acids play a critical role in whole body health, and krill oil supplements are a great source of this critical nutrient. In fact, krill oil supplements can support athletes’ performance and recovery and help them take their training to the next level.
Benefits of Omega-3s for Athletes
Many athletes use High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) as a method for increasing their speed, strength, and agility in a shorter amount of training time. While it’s known as a highly effective training method, it’s also known to create a lot of stress in the body and can have a significant impact on immune health. Chronic inflammation is one of the primary consequences of this type of intensive training. While inflammation is a natural defense mechanism to protect the body against pathogens and in tissue repair processes, prolonged inflammation can have the opposite effect by damaging tissues. As a result, athletes may become especially vulnerable to illness and infection, compromising training and even careers. Omega-3 fatty acids, like EPA and DHA found in sources like krill oil have anti-inflammatory effects and can actually be inflammation regulating agents. In a 2011 study, researchers found that Omega-3 supplementation decreased muscle soreness (a sign of inflammation) in a test group of athletes who performed weighted bicep curls.
Aiding Athletes in Recovery and Relieving Soreness
Muscle soreness can set athletes back in their training if not properly tended to. Many athletes have turned to foam rolling to aid in the recovery process; however, foam rolling can be uncomfortable and can also lead to additional muscle soreness post-workout.
In a 2019 study published by the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 16 participants (male) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: One group consumed eight placebo capsules (300 milligrams of corn oil) per day for eight weeks leading up to the exercise portion of the study and then for five days afterwards. The other consumed eight Omega-3 supplements (300 mg) containing EPA and DHA per day for 62 days (before, during, and after the exercise portion). The participants were asked to perform six sets of 10 dumbbell curls at different angles with 90 seconds of rest in between. Before, immediately after, and one, two, and five days after exercise, participants’ elbow joint range of motion was measured by a team of researchers to document muscle soreness, muscle stiffness, and muscle swelling.
The study found that the athletes taking a supplement felt less soreness and stiffness and had a greater range of motion than those who did not take the supplement. Researchers believe the difference to be the work of Omega-3s and the powerful protection they deliver in protecting cells around muscle fibers as well as their ability to deliver an anti-inflammatory agent.
Eisuke Ochi, Ph.D., study coauthor and associate professor of bioscience and applied chemistry at Hosei University in Japan, explained to Runner’s World that he believes the results of the study could be applied other exercises that require similar weight lifting methods. For athletes concerned about long term inflammation, the addition of an Omega-3 supplement to a healthy lifestyle and training regimen can provide support.
The Benefits of Omega-3s for Runners
In a recent study focused on amateur, or “non-elite” runners, researchers measured and compared how many miles they ran per week to the athletes’ Omega-3 index. The study included 257 non-elite runners who did not consume any fatty acid supplements and provided a blood sample for analysis.
The findings from the study revealed that there was a gradual decrease of the Omega-3 index with higher weekly mileages. The results suggest that distance running and mileage may decrease an athlete’s Omega-3 reserves.
Researchers from the study believe that the information gathered suggests that prolonged running activity may negatively influence someone’s fatty acid profile. An Omega-3-rich supplement like krill oil may help replenish Omega-3 supplies in the body during periods of distance running training.
The Power of Phospholipids in Krill
Not all Omega-3 supplements are created equal. In most cases, the Omega-3s in fish oil supplements come in the form of a triglyceride, a parallel chain of molecules with a molecular backbone used to transport essential fats around the body. While Omega-3s in a triglyceride formation can be absorbed by the body, Omega-3s that are phospholipid-bound have been found to be even more easily absorbed and utilized. In contrast to fish oil, a popular Omega-3 supplement, Omega-3 fatty acids found in krill oil are phospholipid-bound.
Krill Oil Supplements Support Whole Body Health
For athletes, active recovery is imperative to making strides in physical conditioning and getting to the next level of athletic performance. With additional Omega-3 fatty acids to help regulate inflammation and muscle soreness, krill oil is a must-have for any performance-minded athlete.
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