How does fish oil benefit bodybuilding?
9 min read
29 May 2023
|GET TO THE POINT…What is fish oil?General fish oil benefits?How much fish oil should you take?Why is fish oil great for bodybuilding
These days, it feels like someone is always trying to sell you the latest self-improvement hack, and that notion is certainly felt within the health and fitness scene.
Whether it is a certain food, diet plan or workout technique, there is a huge amount of noise from fitness influencers, coaches, and amateur gym-goers on forums and in comments.
If you are trying to improve your physique and performance as a bodybuilder, this is enough to drive you insane. While you will always be on the lookout for fitness tips or a way of improving your nutrition, it can feel like you are constantly being dragged in a million different directions.
Although many of these hacks are unnecessary if you have a good diet and follow a properly thought-out plan, there are a few items that can genuinely help benefit you and your fitness journey.
Today, we’re going to address nutrition, which is the backbone of your fitness regimen. Numerous foods and supplements can help – whether protein powder or legal steroid alternatives – but these should be complemented by other supplements – such as fish oil.
Fish oil is used by many people worldwide – not just those within the fitness industry – and is proven to have multiple benefits that impact various aspects of your life and body. In addition, fish oil can be a fantastic aid for those looking to build muscle for bodybuilding purposes.
Here’s the lowdown on fish oil and its properties.
WHAT IS FISH OIL?
Fish oil is a fat or oil that has been extracted from the tissue of a fish. Various fish can be used to create fish oil, but the most likely sources will be fatty fish such as herring, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel.
Fish oil shouldn’t be confused with cod liver oil or other oils from specific types of marine creatures, such as shark liver oil. These additional products have different characteristics and purposes, so they don’t give you the same benefits as fish oil.
Fish oil is typically sold as a supplement, available over the counter, and consumed as capsules that dissolve in your stomach once swallowed. You can also get prescription fish oil with higher amounts of amino acids, which are used to treat various ailments, including muscle pain.
If you’re ever prescribed fish oil, you can’t use regular supplements, as they don’t contain enough fish oil to treat your condition.
Fish oil contains a high omega-3 fatty acid, which our bodies don’t manufacture themselves, meaning we need to consume it in our diet – or through supplements – to get the benefits.
GENERAL FISH OIL BENEFITS
A host of health benefits are attributed to fish oil, including protection against diseases and preserving eye health. To demonstrate just how valuable fish oil can be, here’s a look at some of the more general health benefits that aren’t explicitly related to bodybuilding:
1. SUPPLEMENTS FOR HEART HEALTH
Various studies have shown that people who eat a large portion of fish have a lower chance of getting heart disease.
There are many potential reasons for this. For example, fish oil lowers the LDL cholesterol levels in your body while raising HDL cholesterol, which is considered the suitable type you want in your body.
As well as this, fish oil reportedly reduces your blood pressure, especially for those with elevated levels. This even works in a small dose, making fish oil a mighty thing to take.
2. IT CAN BE USED TO TREAT MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS
Fish oil is highly beneficial to your brain. This is because your brain comprises nearly 60% fat, and much of that fat is the omega-3 typically found in fish oil. This means that taking more fish oil helps keep your brain functioning optimally.
It’s believed that people with specific mental health issues have a lower level of omega-3 in their blood.
So, by taking fish oil, it can help regulate the brain and improve those with symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Plus, taking fish oil before any issues occur can help reduce the chance of any problems taking hold, even on people who are more vulnerable to the conditions.
3. SUPPORTS EYE HEALTH
Your eyes rely heavily on omega-3 fats for them to function correctly. As a result, people with a reduced level of omega-3 from fish oil have a much greater risk of developing eye diseases.
Fish oil can be even more critical in maintaining the eye health of the elderly, as eyes begin to decline as you age. Taking fish oil can help reduce the risk of this deterioration. However, it is said that the effects are better if you eat fatty fish that contain omega-3.
4. IMPROVES YOUR SKIN
Taking fish oil may help improve the health of your skin. This is because, much like your eyes and brain, your skin contains many omega-3 fatty acids mostly found in fish oil.
As your skin is your body’s largest organ, it needs omega-3 to stay healthy. Adding more fish oil to your diet can help improve many skin disorders, such as psoriasis and dermatitis, which are dry skin conditions that cause flaky patches that can be uncomfortable and a bit unsightly.
5. REDUCES LIVER FAT
Fish oil can improve your liver’s function and reduce the amount of fat processed in the organ. Your liver processes most of the fat in your body and plays a significant role in weight gain. You’ll likely get in better shape if you can control your liver’s fat levels.
Fish oil can help improve your liver because it has properties that reduce inflammation, which can improve the symptoms of NAFLD, a term used to describe a range of conditions caused by a build-up of fat in the liver, and thus the amount of fat in your liver.
6. IMPROVES SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
Studies have shown that people who suffer from major depression have a lower level of omega-3 in their blood levels. As a result, taking fish oil, which is filled with omega-3, can help improve the symptoms of major depression.
That said, this process only seems effective for those with significant depression. This is because people suffering from minor depressive episodes don’t show the same levels of reduced omega-3, suggesting that fish oil will have less of an effect in this situation.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU TAKE FISH OIL?
As fish oil can be obtained through the foods you consume, we should aim to have at least 1-2 portions of fish per week to obtain the benefits.
That said, adding this amount of fish into your diet can be challenging, especially if you’re not a fan of the flavor or want to focus on other meats as a better source of protein. If you’re struggling to get the right amount of fish oil through food, you can take an omega-3 supplement to boost your intake.
In addition to that, the omega-3s that you get in fish oil can also be obtained through some plants.
However, if this option appeals to you, beware that the types of acids found in these plant sources differ from those found in fish oil and are said not to have as good health benefits as the amino acids in fish oil. This is another reason you should add fish oil to your supplement routine.
In terms of the amount of fish oil you should consume, it’s recommended by the World Health Organisation that you should aim to get a daily intake of 1.1 – 1.6 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day. This can be done exclusively through fish oil or a combination of foods and supplementation.
You should be careful to stay within the 1.6-gram daily limit. This is because fish oil contains 70% fat. Although some of these are good, healthy fats, having too much fish oil can make you a bit chunkier, which can be a nightmare if you’re trying to cut.
Generally, if you’re not eating fish for the day, you should stick to one capsule. If fish like tuna or mackerel is in your daily meal plan, think about skipping the supplement, as you don’t want to overdo it.
WHY IS FISH OIL GREAT FOR BODYBUILDING AND MUSCLES?
Fish oil may not be the first supplement you associate with bodybuilding. However, it is a favorite among serious lifters and provides some compelling benefits that make it a valuable element of your supplement program.
Of course, bear in mind that there’s no evidence that fish oil helps improve muscle mass.
So how do fish oils benefit bodybuilding?
Well, you need to consider more than just gains. Half the battle with muscle growth is recovery, which is where fish oil can help.
Instead of helping add muscle, fish oil reduces pain. You’ll feel more comfortable when completing your routines, and the lack of muscle soreness will allow you to push yourself more in the gym and complete more reps at heavier weights, helping you reach your fitness goals faster.
Another fantastic benefit of fish oil for bodybuilders is that it helps combat DOMs.
DOMs are where your muscles start to ache a few days after initial exercise and can be painful, depending on how hard you work out. For some people, experiencing DOMS can throw out their workout routine and rhythm and make it much harder to continue training at a high level.
As fish oil can help reduce the pain felt with DOMs, you should be able to continue training with less discomfort.
In addition, fish oil can also improve muscle health as you age, making it even more effective for senior bodybuilders. This is because the anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil may enhance your muscles’ sensitivity to protein, allowing you to build bigger muscles despite being a little older.
NOTHING FISHY HERE
Fish oil is a great addition to any bodybuilding supplement cycle because it’s a clean, legal, and safe way to reduce muscle pain and swelling, allowing you to work out harder and more often.
In addition, fish oil has many other health benefits for your mind and other aspects of your life, which can help you to lead a healthier and more rounded lifestyle. While you might feel this is not as exciting as an all-out growth hack, this is precisely what makes fish oil compelling.
Any experienced lifter will know that once the buzz of newbie gains has worn off, the toughest challenge of training hard is maintaining the same effort consistently. After a few weeks, your body will grow weaker and more tired. Often, this leads to muscle soreness and even illness, as your immune system fails to cope.
Fish oil can help with this, providing a much-needed boost to your health when you are putting your body through hell.
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