Over the years, evidence supporting the health benefits of fish oil supplementation has been astounding. The omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), found in cold water fish have been shown to reduce inflammation, increase cardiovascular health, increase the efficiency of the heart during exercise, maintain healthy blood lipid profiles, and, increase fat metabolism and lean mass gain.
Recent work published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition gives us yet another reason to be supplementing with fish oil—as it has been shown to increase workout performance, especially if you include heavy eccentric contractions in your training. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel-design study, subjects took daily fish oil (containing 600 mg of EPA and 260 mg of DHA) or a placebo for 8 weeks before and on the day of exercise testing. They continued to take the supplement or placebo for 5 days after exercise testing.
It was found that that the fish oil supplement inhibited motor nerve deficits normally observed after intense eccentric exercise. Overall, fish oil supplementation for 8 weeks promoted greater strength, improved muscle flexibility, and decreased delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after intense eccentric exercise. The authors speculated that the mechanisms underlying these observations are a result of improved nerve structure and function associated with fish oil supplementation.
ACTION POINT: To reap all the health and exercise benefits of fish oil, take 1 to 3 grams of high EPA and DHA fish oil with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Reference: Ochi E, Tsuchiya Y, Yanagimoto K. Effect of eicosapentaenoic acids-rich fish oil supplementation on motor nerve function after eccentric contractions. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jul 12;14:23.