What is it
Omega-3 is a group of fatty acids vital for multiple functions in the body and plays a big role in your health. Omega-3s are not produced by the body and must be consumed in your diet. The most common omega-3 rich foods are fish, algae, chia seeds, flax seeds or oils and in the form om supplements.
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The three most important types of Omega-3 are:
1. Alpha-linolenic acid also known as ALA
Most of the ALA are used for energy by the body, but a small portion of what you ingest are converted to the more bioactive DHA and EPA. ALA is the Omega-3 that is most commonly found in plant based sources like flaxseed products, chia seeds, nuts and hemp. The ALA is what is called a short chain fatty acid and while it have health benefits it is not as beneficial as DHA and EPA. You would have to eat a lot more to get the same benefits.
2. Eicosapentaenoic acid also called EPA
EPA is most commonly found in fish containing high amounts of fat and sometimes in algae.
One of the biggest benefits of EPA is that it helps the cells in your body with communication, as your brain sends millions of signals through the body every second this is very important. It also helps the body create prostaglandins which is a hormone that helps keep your blood from clogging trough thinning the blood. EPA can also help lower high cholesterol.
3. Docosahexaenoic acid known as DHA
DHA is a long tail fatty acid found in fatty fish and other sea animals. DHA is important for a lot of reasons and plays a role in how well your nervous system works and brain health. Some of the DHA can be converted to EPA if the body feels it needs it. If you ingest your Omega-3 through a supplement it usually comes as two parts DHA with three parts EPA as they have synergistic effects.
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Benefits of Omega-3
Now you know what Omega-3s are and it’s time look at what benefits it may have for you!
1. Increased recovery
Research has shown that taking omega-3 after a workout decreases the recovery time needed before the next session. Famous strength coach Charles Poliquin which holds the record for training the most olympic medalists ever, swear by using omega-3 for building muscle and recovery, he also states that taking it can result in less doms the day after workout.
2. Better immune system
Omega-3 increases the performance of your immune system and is a great tool to avoid getting sick during cold season.
3. Lower inflammation
When inflammation is present in the body a lot of things happen! It might give you joint pain, disrupt digestion of the food you eat and makes you more susceptible to illness. Omega-3 hos shown in multiple studies that it is anti inflammatory. And as you eat it, it gets out in the whole body lowering inflammation. Combined with curicumin omega-3 works synergistically and can be a very powerful anti inflammatory combo worth trying instead of using pain killers because you joints ache.
4. Lower cortisol
Eating more omega-3 might help you lower your cholesterol. Cholesterol is known as the stress hormone and is often elevated when you are stress and feeling depressed. While supplementation might not cure it completely it might help a great deal and push you in the right direction. A high cortisol also can put your hormones out of whack which can result in less sleep and having trouble building muscle.
5. Improve joint health
One to three grams of omega-3 has shown to increase blood flow during training which is great for your joints and muscles to get more nutrients shuttled to them. Combining this with the anti inflammatory responses is great for the joints! Even if you don’t have joint pain or stiffness this can be a great way to prevent you from getting it.
6. Improved sleep
When ingested DHA stimulates the body to release more melatonin which is our sleep hormone. Having more melatonin make it easier to fall asleep and to get in to rem sleep which is crucial for recovery and overall health. Sleep is the most important thing we do for our health and performance!
7. Improve your skin
Omega-3 is shown to protect your skin from the sun due to lowering the inflammation caused by the sun’s uv light on the skin. For optimal protection from the sun from omega-3 you should also lower you intake of omega-6 as that increases the performance of the omega-3.
What Omega-3 are best
The best source of omega-3 is to get it in food, if you can always choose food over supplements for your nutrients. The best foods for getting your fats in are fish like salmon and anchovy. If you are eating a plant based diet go for flaxseeds and chia seeds are great options. But sometimes eating these things are not convenient as right after a workout or maybe you just don’t like these foods, then supplements are the solution. You can choose both vegan and non vegan alternatives but look for a supplement that contains a ratio of 2:3 of DHA/EPA.
As you can tell from this article getting enough Omega-3 is very important! So look over your diet and supplement routine and take both your health and physique to the next level!