Normally, I recommend getting as much nutrients from real food, but if you’re training really hard… beyond what most regular folks do… you may not be able to provide your body with all the nutrients it requires from food alone.
Remember the famous “10,000 calorie diet” Michael Phelps was supposedly on…? Now I don’t know if that was true or not, but it does go to show you, that his body needed much more than what a normal active person like you and I would eat.
Simply put… if you can’t eat enough real food, you need to include supplements in order to provide your body with what it needs.
Supplementation for improved performance
One supplement that’s been show to help boost recovery and athletic performance is omega-3 fatty acids.
A study from University of Toronto looked at a group of male athletes with an average age of 25. The participants were actively involved in an average of 17 hours of training each week.
In the study, some of the participants received an omega-3 supplement of varying dosages, while other athletes received a placebo for a baseline comparison. These supplements were used daily for three weeks.
The results of the study showed that omega-3 supplements reduced fatigue, improved thigh muscle function by 20% and also increased blood EPA levels. And this study wasn’t alone… other studies of omega-3 supplements on athletic performance support similar findings.
For example, another study showed that the use of omega-3 supplements improved vascular health by enhancing the flow of blood. Better blood flow means better physical performance, which indicates that the use of omega-3 supplements is beneficial for enhancing performance.
Plus… omega-3 supplements have proven to be very effective at fighting inflammation… which is the leading cause of aging and chronic diseases. It’s really a no brainer when it comes to supplementing omega 3 fatty acids.
And as I mentioned earlier, I recommend getting nutrients from real food first… unless you’re not able to get it from real food. BUT in the case of omega-3 fatty acids, it may actually be easier and more effective to take supplements.
Unfortunately the best form of omega 3 fatty acids come from fish such as mackerel, salmon, herring, anchovies. Now if you a lot of fish, that’s great… but I know most people (including myself) probably aren’t able to eat enough fish to get adequate amounts of omega 3 fatty acids. So in this case, supplements are the way to go.
BTW, seeds like chia seed and flax seeds are touted to harness very high omega 3 fatty acids… and they do. BUT it’s important to know that there are different forms of omega 3 fatty acids… EPA, DHA and ALA. Now I won’t get into detail, but what you need to know is that our body metabolizes EPA and DHA the best… not ALA. And as you probably already guessed EPA and DHA only come from fish (or fish oil), where as ALA comes from flax seeds and chia seeds. ALA has to be converted to EPA and DHA before our body can use it, and unfortunately our body doesn’t convert ALA to EPA and DHA well at all.
So… when you’re choosing quality omega 3 supplements, I would recommend fish oil, krill oil or a combination of the two. And keep in mind that quality is key when you’re choosing supplements since it provides your body with a high concentration of a given nutrient. Using low quality supplements can mean that you’re consuming synthetic ingredients or the supplements might be contaminated with unwanted ingredients. A little bit of research goes a long way in helping you identify which ones are trusty worthy.
Taking high quality omega 3 fatty acid supplement can help fight inflammation, slow aging and prevent chronic diseases… and it’s now been shown to help boost your athletic performance as well.