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Part 2- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: The Essential Fat for Athletic Performance

Written By Jayme Pantekoek | Published October 1st 2023



 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health and have been shown to have a number of benefits for athletic performance. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and increase endurance. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can improve performance in a variety of athletic activities, including endurance training, strength training, and aiding in better mobility and movement.


If you are an athlete, or even if you are just active, it is important to make sure that you are getting enough omega-3 fatty acids. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. You can also get omega-3 fatty acids from supplements.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for athletic performance and provide tips on how to get more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet.


First, we will explain the types of fatty acids that we are mostly consuming in a Standard American Diet (SAD). 

We will do this because there is not one food that belongs solely to any one of these categories of fats. All foods that contain fats, typically contain all 3 of these categories of fats, MUFA, PUFA, and SFA. It is not impossible or feasible to eliminate certain categories of fatty acids entirely from your diet. Instead, we can try and tweak the ratios by getting more of the fats we react better with, in this blog it’s about Omega-3 fish oil. Another point we have to understand is that fats are essential for your health even tho they have gotten a bad rap in the past for cardiovascular health.


Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) are a type of fat that is found in olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. MUFAs are considered to be a healthy fat because they can help to lower cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health. Mono, meaning a singular bond of hydrogen binding to carbon that also has kinks in the bonds allows this oil to be more of a liquid at room temperature.


Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are a type of fat that is found in fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. PUFAs are also considered to be a healthy fat because they can help to lower cholesterol levels and improve cardiovascular health. Poly, meaning multiple bonds of hydrogen to its carbon atoms, these fats also have kinks in the carbon chain making it more prone to oxidation and liquid at room temperature.


PUFAs can be sub-categorized with Omega-6 and Omega-3 variants, mostly categorized by marine and non-marine fats where Omega-3 is marine and have a better ratio of DHA/EPA than Omega-6. Omega-6 is found more in nuts and vegetable oils.


Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) are a type of fat that is found in animal products, such as meat, poultry, and dairy products. SFAs have been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but some studies have shown that SFAs may not have as much of an impact on cardiovascular health as previously thought. SFA is “saturated” with hydrogen atoms attached to its carbon chain making the fats more stable and do not easily react with other molecules. SFAs can also be packed tight and can be more solid at room temperature.


Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that is found in fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human health and have been shown to have a number of benefits, including:

  • Reducing inflammation

  • Improving cardiovascular health

  • Reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke

  • Improving cognitive function

  • Reducing the risk of depression

  • Improving athletic performance

The typical American does not intake enough omega-3 fatty acids. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that only 3% of Americans meet the recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids.


There are two ways to get more omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Eat fatty fish at least twice a week.

  • Take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement.

Omega-3 fatty acids have a number of benefits for athletic performance. Omega-3 fatty acids can help to reduce inflammation, improve blood flow, and increase endurance. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can improve performance in a variety of athletic activities, including endurance running, swimming, and cycling.


Here are some specific examples of the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for athletic performance:

  • Reduce muscle soreness after exercise.

  • Helps to improve recovery time from injury.

  • Improves sleep quality, which is important for athletic performance.

  • Improve mood and reduces stress, which can also improve athletic performance.


 

If you are looking to try an Omega-3 supplement and don’t know where to start, here is a short list that Consumer Labs (a 3rd party tester) has on their Omega-3 supplement review. I am a subscriber of Consumer Labs so I get access to all supplements that they have tested. I have no affiliation with them.



I chose to take the Spring Valley Maximum Care Omega-3 for the low cost, and high EPA/DHA. I usually consume fish oil with meals which makes the ethyl ester absorption as effective as the triglyceride versions.


Here is the Amazon link if you wish to buy this exact Omega-3 Here.


If you are concerned about your omega-3 fatty acid intake, talk to your doctor about whether you should take a supplement, there are medical-grade omega-3 that they can prescribe if you are very deficient.


If you would like to talk more about your supplement routine, diet or exercise feel free to reach out to Jayme and see if our athletic or adult program is right for your family!


Text or call 612-839-8039






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