If you have ever read anything related to health, the chances are that you have heard about the health benefits of EPA and DHA also known as Omega-3 fatty acids. You have probably heard that Omega-3 fatty acids are good for helping brain function, cardiovascular function, hormonal function, and specific conditions like infertility. They also help in autoimmune conditions, blood sugar balance and even with weight loss to a certain extent.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids
When we speak of fish oil, we also regularly mention the word Omega-3. Usually, these 2 terms are used interchangeably, and to an extent, it’s the Omega-3 content of a fish oil blend that we are more interested in when we’re speaking in the context of the fish oil’s benefits for athletes. How can one thing as simple as Omega-3 fatty acids help all those systems in our body? It comes down to a simple model that may seem bold and oversimplified but is nevertheless true. The difference between health and disease is how many cells are functioning well in your body versus how many cells are not functioning as they should.
Why Fish Oil Is Important for Your Body
Our bodies are made up of hundreds of trillions of cells. If one cell becomes dysfunctional, we would never notice anything. However, when enough cells start to become dysfunctional, symptoms start to develop, and wherever these cells are found in large amounts, then that will be a symptom that we will experience. So, for example, if enough cells become dysfunctional in our brain, we may experience something like depression. If enough cells become dysfunctional in our hormonal glands, it might manifest itself as infertility or PMS. If the progression furthers itself and you get even more dysfunctional cells, then it may be classified as a disease.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, also known as Poly-unsaturated fatty acids, are needed in small quantities in our everyday diet. These facts are so relevant that your body does not even bother making them. Therefore they are called essential fatty acids. No more than 5% of your total calorie intake should come from polyunsaturated fats.
We need to consider the purpose of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats. Omega-6 helps cells grow. Sometimes when a cell grows, it breaks. Your body then uses Omega-3 to repair the cell. This process repeats continuously.
As cells grow and occasionally deform, Omega-3 comes along and repairs them. However, when there’s too much Omega-6 in the diet, the Omega-3 cannot keep with all the growing cells. Omega-3 becomes exhausted and deactivated. You are then left with reproducing mutated cells. This may lead to inflammation and even cancer.
Fish Oil’s General Benefits
Fish oil’s effects on overall health are extremely well proven and documented at length, from improving the efficiency and function of the heart to strengthening the effective potency of the immune system’s natural defense mechanisms.
It also significantly improves blood pressure, cholesterol, brain function, etc. However, what many people are not aware of is that fish oil has specific benefits for those individuals trying to build and maintain muscle mass, as well as burn fat. The best fish oil for bodybuilding utilizes and maintains a forward bias equilibrium between the body’s natural mechanisms for muscle building and muscle breakdown.
Fish Oil’s Benefits for Athletes
Fish oil has direct effects on muscle growth and recovery which are both very crucial parameters for consideration amongst athletes in general.
3 methods are involved in promoting these effects. The first is the observation that fish oil seems to promote muscle building, a process known as anabolism. Reputed university studies had proven that when healthy volunteers were given 4 gr of fish oil daily as part of a controlled observational test for the effects of fish oil, the researchers found a notable increase in the formation of muscle protein.
Protein formation is the method by which various and separate amino acids join to form whole proteins. Basic biology teaches us that the foundational units of muscle fibers are in fact protein, and this is of prime importance for athletes. The researchers also noticed that the consumption led to an increase in the motor pathway, which is a key signaling pathway that controls muscle cell growth.
The second way in which fish oil seems to benefit athletes is that it reduces muscle breakdown, a process also known as catabolism. Therefore, along with aiding the building of muscle at an accelerated rate, it also assists in maintaining and preserving existing muscle. The muscles are continuously in a balancing act of both anabolism, which is muscle creation, and catabolism, which is muscle degradation. The net muscle or lean weight gain is determined by the difference in the levels of anabolism and catabolism taking place in the body. Hence, if you reduce the amount of muscle catabolism, you will, in effect, amplify your overall muscle gain.
How Does Fish Oil Help in Building Muscle?
The best fish oil for bodybuilding assists in reducing muscle catabolism using 3 primary mechanisms. These 3 mechanisms include cortisol, ubiquitin-proteasome,and inflammation. Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes a eduction in muscle growth by the direct utilization of muscle fiber for energy production. Ubiquitin-proteasome is also a primary bodily pathway that leads to catabolism that can be greatly reduced when a higher intake of EOPA is incorporated into the individual’s dietary regimen.
Lastly, inflammation while not being a direct tensor on the catabolic process, leads to the stress factor on joints and tissues that form the supporting connective structures around muscle tissues. This stress causes pain and strain that prevents muscle training, which indirectly leads to reduced muscle hypertrophy. By reducing these 3 mechanisms, we can see that fish oil positively correlates to a regular, higher training regimen for athletes that promotes positive muscle hypertrophy.
The Recommended Fish Oil Dosage
Regarding the recommended fish oil dosage, the main thing to take note of is that it is not the overall amount of raw fish oil that is important, but rather the specific amount of EPA and DHA that matters; the 2 key Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil.
Top 5 Fish Oil Supplements for 2017
From this point on, we will review 5 individual fish oil supplements which provide all the intended benefits expected from the best fish oil for bodybuilding.
This supplement has a very digestible lemon flavor that disguises the fishy taste that’s usually associated with fish oil tablets. These tablets have a sizable dosage of Omega-3 in each capsule. Omega boost acts as a great supplement to your heart health function. Each dose contains only 10 calories and has 1,200 milligrams of fish oil.
The benefits and drawbacks of this product are listed below.
- A single tablet is required per day
- Fantastic choice for anyone who does not like popping multiple pills a day
- Marked effect in inflammation reduction
- Noticeable improvement in functional memory.
- The oil is extracted from fish that may contain mercury.
- It has an EPA to DHA ratio that is not favorable for an athlete’s training goals.
- The flavoring could also be a polarizing factor, as some consumers may not like the lemon taste.
- The capsules are very large.
- Difficult for some consumers to swallow due to a more sensitive gag reflex.
- A final consideration, which some consumers have noticed while utilizing this product is that it may cause the urine to have an odd fishy odor.
This product is made of 5 different Omega fatty acids, all of which are obtained from wild caught Alaskan salmon. One dose of this product is equal to 3 whole servings of fish regarding Omega oil nutritional content. The gelatin used to make the capsule is halal, which may be an important consideration for some users, and the product is guaranteed to be soy-free, which helps to avoid any allergic reactions. Also, it does not contain any krill.
- Contains astaxanthin, a very potent antioxidant.
- Works efficiently against free radicals in the body.
- Effective against oxidation induced by a buildup of lactic acid due to vigorous training.
- The product contains no added filler material.
- Reported to be less smelly than other comparable fish oils.
- An Omega-3 count that is sizeably lower than other similarly priced supplements.
- The fish odor burps that are common if the capsules are not taken with a meal.
- The large capsule is again a difficulty in swallowing for many consumers.
- Multiple capsules need to be taken daily which may be a deal breaker for many users who prefer a single dosage.
This product claims to be a great source of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A. It also has an additional source of Vitamin E for fortification. The company behind it has a unique preservation method, utilizing nitrogen instead of natural air, to reduce oxidation, which thereby ensures that it will maintain its potency for a longer period, giving you the freshest supplement possible. It can be added to liquids and other beverages of choice. The fish oil is extracted without any chemical intervention.
- Easily blends into the most commonly consumed beverages
- Excellent naturally sourced vitamin profile
- No chemical involvement that may serve as a dilution to potency
- The typical fish burp, even when consumed with a meal
- The Omega-3 Dosage profile is sizably less compared to similarly priced products
Nutrigold provides a prominently higher concentration of Omega-3 than would be usually available in supplements of comparable price and dosage. All the raw content of this supplement is obtained and manufactured exclusively in the United States. This ensures to the extent that the fish used for producing this supplement was obtained from sustainable and hygienic sources. The dark container reduces exposure to direct sunlight that could contribute to the deterioration of the fish oil.
- It’s dark bottle helps to keep the light out
- It does not contain any artificial coloring
- A faintly fishy after taste, which was unequivocally noted in all the products reviewed.
Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal Oil
This widely popular product boasts a unique blend of butter oil that contains a higher vitamin density profile infused with fish oil produced using a fermentation process. This in turn gives a nutrient stack that is assimilated more readily by the digestive health. It’s very beneficial for your overall health and non-heat extracted for added potency. More benefits that add to the credit of this product possibly being the best fish oil for bodybuilding is the high dosage per serving and the processing mechanism of the product which does not rely on heat and chemical buffering, leading to a greater efficacy.
- An effective bodybuilding support aid for muscle growth and maintenance
- Doubles as a unique preventative supplement to reduce dental caries.
- The fermentation process prevents the product from expiring
- Help improve acne and other aggravated skin issues caused by excessive sebum production due to its effect on regulation of the hormone system.
- None reported
The Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal Oil is a clear winner. The stabilised version of the fish oil is easier for the body to assimilate. It’s also free from even the minor contaminants. The product offers exceptional value for money. In using this product, consumers have not reported any major side effects or drawbacks. It is for these reasons that the Green Pasture Blue Ice Royal comes in first to be the best fish oil for bodybuilding for 2017.