To build muscle, you need a little bit of inflammation in the body. A hard workout can do that for you. However, diet can cause inflammation tooâ€”just not in a good way. One of the reasons that a typical western way of eating can contribute to high levels of inflammation in the body is that the amount of bad
omega- 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids consumed is more than 20- to 25-times more than good
omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids consumed. You can counterbalance this by taking
This is because much of fish oil's benefits are attributed to its high content of
omega-3 fatty acids. Among other things, these omega-3s help discourage formation of hormone-like agents that trigger inflammatory processes which destroy arteries and joints, and encourage cancer and overall cell malfunction. One way the omega-3s do this is by replacing excessive amounts of the omega-6 fatty acidsâ€”fats predominant in corn and sunflower seed oilsâ€”that are readily oxidized into free radicals. By balancing out the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids in the body, you can improve your health in numerous ways. In fact, studies on fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids have flooded the scientific journals touting benefits from improved muscle recovery, heart health, mental focus and more. It is for all of these reasons that you should take fish oil before you go to bed, so it can put its powers to work when you are completely at rest.
1) For Muscle Recovery:
First thing first: fish oil can help your performance in the gym. And here's why: Exercise is going to increase your levels of many different inflammatory markers. When your body is in a high inflammatory state, it cannot be in a tissue building or tissue-repairing state, which is what you work so hard for. Instead, it remains in a breakdown phase. Also, too much inflammation means you'll be too catabolic. Omega-3s, found in fish oil, can help you get those inflammation markers rebalanced. It is this rebalancing that helps
decrease muscle breakdown,
increase muscle growth,
speed recovery time, support hormone secretion and support
2) To Lose Weight:Â®
Fish oil may help your weight loss efforts, according to an Australian study published in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The researchers, from the University of South Australia in Adelaide, examined the effects of fish oil and exercise, alone and together, on fat mass, lean mass, and cardiovascular health in 75 overweight adults ranging in age from 25-65.
Subjects were randomly assigned to receive daily fish oil supplements (260 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 60 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)) or placebo (sunflower oil), with or without an exercise regimen. The
fish-oil supplements led to a 14 percent decrease in blood triacylglycerols levels and a 10 percent increase in plasma HDL cholesterol levels. The placebo sunflower oil effects were five and three percent, respectively.
The combination of exercise and
fish oil supplementation reduced fat mass by 1.6 kg (about 3.5 pounds), with no significant changes observed for fish oil alone, or placebo with or without exercise. None of the subjects saw change in lean mass.
3) To Improve Your Cholesterol:
Keep your blood arteries supple by taking fish oil, especially if you have high blood levels of triglycerides, a risk factor for artery hardening also known as atherosclerosis, which is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But taking
supplements of the omega-3 DHA may help you combat this, says a study published in the August 2007 issue of
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers, from University of California Davis, Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, and Agricultural Research Service (US Department of Agriculture), recruited 34 men between the ages of 39 and 66 years of age who have high triglyceride levels and randomly assigned them to receive 3 grams of DHA daily or an olive oil placebo for 90 days. After 45 days, those taking the DHA supplements experienced decreased levels of triacylglycerol of 24 percent.
4) To Improve Your Focus:
Wandering minds can be harnessed by omega-3 fatty acids, whether you are age 8 or 80. While numerous studies have proven that fish oil can help hone mental focus, a recent
Nutrition Journal study found that high-dose supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (10.8 grams of EPA and 5.4 grams of DHA) for eight weeks calmed children with attention and hyperactivity issues.
This research is in-line with an Australian study on 132 children that was published in the
Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. It showed that after 30 weeks of
omega-3 supplementation parents reported significant improvements in ADHD-related symptoms.
5) Prevent Prostate Cancer:
Over half a million new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year world wide, and the cancer is the direct cause of over 200,000 deaths. What's more, the incidence of the disease has increased over the past 15 years. You can protect yourself.
Higher intake of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA may cut your risk of developing prostate cancer by 40 percent, says a Harvard study. In particular keeping your ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids balanced will help improve your health, especially that of your prostate.
When the researchers compared blood levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids in 952 men, half were diagnosed with prostate cancer and the other were not. After comparing men with the highest and lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, DPA, DHA), they found that men who had high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids had a 41 percent reduction in prostate cancer risk. In addition, linoleic acid consumption was also associated with a 38 percent risk reduction when comparing the highest versus lowest intakes. According to the researchers, these results suggest linoleic and omega-3 fatty acids may actually decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer.
This supports earlier research done at UCLA. The results of that study suggest that changing the omega-3 to omega-6 ratio might reduce prostate cancer tumor growth, as well as PSA levels. In addition, a study in the
British Journal of Cancer reported that omega-6 fats increased the spread of prostate tumor cells into bone marrow, while omega-3 fatty acids were seen to block this invasion.
6) Improve Eye Health:
According to a study published in the
Nature Medicine, fish oil may enhance your eyesight. Harvard Medical School and National Eye Institute researchers reported that increased omega-3 fatty acids and decreased omega-6 fatty acids in the diet reduce the blood vessel loss in the retina that can ultimately cause blindness.
The researchers fed genetically-altered mice diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids or omega-6 fatty acids. The mice on the omega-3 diet, rich in DHA and EPA, were found to have 40 to 50 percent less initial blood vessel loss in the retina than the omega-6-fed mice.
This study suggests that after initial loss, vessels re-grew more quickly and efficiently in the omega-3-fed mice, thus helping increase the oxygen supply to retinal tissue, and increase production of the anti-inflammatory compounds in the retinas. These compounds, derived from omega-3 fatty acids, also potently protected against pathological damage. No detection of these compounds was reported in the retinas of mice fed the omega-6 diet.
Ultimately, this suggests that omega-3 fatty acids act as protective factors in diseases that affect the retina's blood vessels.
7) To Prevent Asthma
Breathe in, breathe out and repeat. If you suffer from exercise-induced asthma, this isn't as simple as it sounds. But it can be. Indiana University researchers analyzed the scientific literature on omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation as it could possibly have an effect on asthma, exercise-induced or otherwise. What they reported in the
Journal of Alternative and
Complementary Medicine is that dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids supplementation may help alleviate the symptoms of asthma, especially the exercise-induced kind.
By adding fish oil to your nightly supplement routine, you're insuring your body's development and good health. Ultimately, you want to look good, but why not feel good too?