Science of Supplementation (1 of 3): Fish Oil Health Benefits

Over the next 3 months we will be providing scientific information on the science of supplementation.  We will breakdown the latest research on fish oils for overall health, protein for muscle growth, and glucosamine for joint health.  This month we will focus on omega-3 fish oils and the top 5 reasons to take fish oils.

Reason 1:  Fish oils can make you smarter.  Research from Tufts University and the University of Pittsburgh show that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) has led to cognitive improvements in both older women and children.  The DHA is found in oil rich fatty parts of fish and other marine life.

Reason2: Fish oils can decrease inflammation.  Many exercisers, especially those just starting an exercise program, will experience joint discomfort from inflammation.  The EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) fish oils have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce the production of factors that increase inflammation. Dr. Rob Wildman reports long-term consumption of fish oil is critical to lessening exercise induced inflammation.

Reason 3: Fish oil makes you stronger.  Researchers from the University of Nottingham and Washington University report that fish oil omega-3 fats seem to be important in optimizing muscle protein synthesis.  The studies also show that there is a potential benefit of fish oil by people building or maintaining muscle mass in both younger and older adults.

Reason 4: Fish oil is a heart saver! Consumption of fish oil has long been recognized as one of the most beneficial supplements for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Information and research shows that fish oils improve our cardiovascular health by lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammation in blood vessel walls, reducing platelet activity, and supporting healthier blood pressure levels.

Reason 5: Fish oils support your lean machine.   Some data suggests that taking a gram or more of fish oil can help keep children leaner during development and/or support weight loss efforts by adults.  A recent study showed that taking fish oils and walking led to a decrease in body fat over walking by itself.  According to Dr. Rob Wildman, author of The Nutrutionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health and creator of TheNutritionDr.com, “regular, long-term consumption of liquid fish oil is critical to optimize brain levels and to lessen exercise induced inflammation as it can take several weeks for the fish oil to concentrate in the proper tissue to provide benefit”.

You can get fish oils in many different forms from pills to liquid oil.  After researching for this article, I believe that the best option to achieve the most benefits is to use the liquid version.  You can find them at www.original nutritionals.com.  Next month, we will discuss protein supplementation.

Written by: Jeremy Kethley, PT