Improve Your Workout with Omega-3 Fish Oil
By Bo Martinsen, MD and Anne-Marie Chalmers, MD
“I used to be so sore and stiff the morning after going to the gym,” said Susan, a college professor and longtime Omega3 Innovations customer. “But that was before I started taking Omega Cure® or eating an Omega Cookie® every day.”
We hear statements like that regularly. Customers will tell us when they add a solid dose of omega-3 fish oil to their diet, they feel less sore after their workouts.
Is there a relationship between fish oil intake and physical performance?
Enhancing Your Exercise Experience with Omega-3 Fish Oil
No, omega-3 fish oil is not on any doping drug list and doesn’t give athletes unfair advantages. Fish oil only restores the muscular and skeletal systems to where they should be.
Furthermore, omega-3 fish oil helps improve recovery time by reducing soreness and stiffness after a workout. Because omega-3 fish oil helps reduce inflammation, it combats the muscle fatigue that might prevent you from getting back to the gym for another two or three days. When you are able to exercise more consistently, you have a better possibility of building more muscle or at least retaining existing muscle mass.*
Omega-3 Fish Oil Exercise Studies and Research
When we started giving Wellpride® fish oil to thoroughbred horses ten years ago, horse trainers told us their horses had better endurance and recovered much faster after racing. Additionally, the horses were less sore, had more vigor and better focus.
The horse trainers’ findings mirror the results omega-3 researchers have found in the lab.
For instance, in a 2010 rat study from Australia, researchers examined how a diet rich in fish oil changed the cell membrane structure in the skeletal muscles, and how the changes in turn influenced muscle functioning. The result: After eight weeks, the rats’ muscles used oxygen more efficiently. Furthermore, the rats experienced less muscle fatigue and faster rates of recovery from their exercise session.
Human studies confirm similar observations. Not only does omega-3 supplementation reduce muscle soreness after exertion; but over time, it also seems to increase muscle strength, reduce fatigue and improve bone density.
- In a recent study from the University of Connecticut, postmenopausal women received a daily dose of fish oil in combination with calcium and vitamin D - roughly the equivalent to eating a small Omega Cookie® - for six months. Compared to women using a placebo, the women taking the fish oil, calcium and vitamin D dramatically improved their walking speed.
- A study from Brazil revealed postmenopausal women experienced greater improvements in muscle strength when taking fish oil in conjunction with their exercise program as opposed to the women who did not take fish oil.
- Yet another study from Washington University School of Medicine found a daily dose of omega-3 fish oil stimulated muscle protein synthesis in older adults and could help prevent muscles from wasting away.
How to Integrate Omega-3 Fish Oil into a Workout Routine
In order to improve the efficacy of your exercise routine, take one tablespoon of Omega Cure® every day. That one tablespoon - roughly the equivalent of 10 to 12 regular fish oil capsules - matches the doses used in research studies revealing omega-3’s anti-inflammatory properties.
To make it easy, add one tablespoon of Omega Cure® to your morning protein shakes or smoothies. Use it consistently for at least eight to ten weeks before expecting to feel the results. Another alternative is to eat an Omega Cookie® as a breakfast or a snack before you exercise. In addition to a effective dose of fish oil, the Omega Cookie® also contains oat fiber, which has its own merits in enhancing physical endurance.
While we can’t guarantee that you’ll look like a younger version of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Aniston, you’ll at least experience more “ahs” and less “ouches” during and after your workout.
*As with any exercise program, listen to your body and respect your limitations. You need to recover from a strenuous exercise session. Most trainers also recommend working a different muscle group each exercise session so your muscle tissue has time to heal.
1. Hutchins-Wiese HL, Kleppinger A, Annis K, Liva E, Lammi-Keefe CJ, Durham HA, Kenny AM. "The Impact of Supplemental n-3 Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Dietary Antioxidants on Physical Performance in Postmenopausal Women." PubMed. In process.
2. Peoples GE, McLennan PL. "Dietary Fish Oil Reduces Skeletal Muscle Oxygen Consumption, Provides Fatigue Resistance, and Improves Contractile Recovery in the Rat in Vivo Hindlimb." PubMed. Aug. 9, 2010.
3. Rodacki CL, Rodacki AL, Pereira G, Naliwaiko K, Coelho I, Pequito D, Fernandes LC. "Fish-oil Supplementation Enhances the Effects of Strength Training in Elderly Women." PubMed. Jan. 4, 2012.
4. Smith GI, Atherton P, Reeds DN, Mohammed BS, Rankin D, Rennie MJ, Mittendorfer B. "Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Increases the Rate of Muscle Protein Synthesis in Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial." PubMed. Dec. 15, 2010.