(Natural News) If you’re looking to get more out of your workout, you don’t necessarily need to spend extra time at the gym or turn to risky performance enhancers. According to a new Japanese study, ingesting the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA could be enough to safely give your athletic performance a boost.
They reached their conclusions after carrying out a review of how these fatty acids affect muscle mass and strength as well as damage to muscles and nerves in animals and humans.
While some studies have indicated there isn’t a difference in muscle strength after taking DHA and EPA, the researchers say those studies simply didn’t give it enough time to work its magic. Those studies took place over the course of just three to four weeks, and supplementation is said to take up to 60 days to successfully stop muscle strength deficit.
When it comes to muscle soreness, they discovered that the effect of EPA and DHA was dose-dependent. The ideal ratio was determined to be 2:1 when it comes to having an impact on delayed-onset muscle soreness. They also found that supplementation could reduce neuromuscular damage. In animals, they found that it can prevent reductions in muscle mass, but they can’t yet conclude whether this effect extends to humans.
Nevertheless, they were able to determine that the combination of DHA and EPA can help with exercise damage and function. They have a synergistic effect when taken simultaneously, and they appear to have different roles. However, they caution that precise dosages need to be investigated and could depend on a person’s exercise experience, sex, age, health status, and other factors. They also point out that the natural medicines database sets the total safe limit of DHA and EPA in humans at 3 grams per day.
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Omega 3’s benefits extend far beyond physical performance
Sports nutrition experts have noted the rising popularity of omega-3 fats in their field. Dr. Hector L. Lopez remarked that studies have linked it to gains in muscle mass, improvements in fat-to-muscle ratio, and better recovery from intense exercise.
It’s not just athletic performance that omega-3 fatty acids can enhance; they can also help boost brain function. With more than 60 percent of the brain being composed of fat, it’s not surprising that healthy fats are so important to this organ. While omega-3 in general is good for the brain, research has shown that DHA is the best of the three main types when it comes to brain health.
It helps so much in brain development that DHA supplements are often recommended to expectant mothers. It has also been shown to reduce depression and boost attention in children who have ADHD. In adults, it preserves the volume of your brain by slowing the process of brain aging and stemming the natural shrinkage that aging brings. In addition, it boosts mental health, mood, and brain plasticity.
How to increase your intake of DHA and EPA
Your body doesn’t produce DHA on its own, so you have to get it through food or supplements. If you’re looking for good dietary sources, look no further than fish like salmon, herring, sardines, shellfish and tuna.
Of course, pregnant women need to be careful about the mercury content in the fish they consume, and everyone needs to ensure their fish comes from trusted sources.
You can also find these omega-3 fatty acids in flax seeds and nuts. If you decide to turn to supplements, fish oil capsules are a great choice because they contain DHA as well as EPA.
Sources for this article include: