Bodybuilders will likely maintain careful diets and follow a strict workout routine to pursue their muscle-building goals. There is a wide range of supplements and dietary guidelines that may help bodybuilders on this journey. One such supplement they may consider is fish oil.
Fish oil is a popular nutritional supplement and a potent source of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids may help protect against
In this article, we discuss fish oil and its potential benefits for bodybuilders. We also look at possible risks and suggest other bodybuilding supplements people may wish to consider.
Fish oil is a nutritional supplement harvested from fatty fish, including sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna, and herring.
Manufacturers can use many different methods to harvest fish oil, but most techniques typically involve a four-stage process that involves cooking, pressing, filtering, and centrifuging the final product.
Fish oils contain
essential fatty acids that the body cannot make for itself. The three primary omega-3 fatty acids are alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and its metabolites docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
While vegetables and other plant foods may contain ALA, the body cannot use it as readily as DHA or EPA. As fish is a rich dietary source of both DHA and EPA, people may consume fish to boost levels of these omega-3 fatty acids. Those who do not consume fish on a regular basis may consider taking fish oil supplements.
These fatty acids may play
- cell membrane function, structure, and signaling
- nervous system regulation
- blood pressure control
- blood clotting
- glucose tolerance
- inflammatory processes
In addition, these fatty acids may also influence skeletal muscle metabolism and functional response following exercise.
Fish oil may provide a variety of potential benefits for bodybuilding. This may include the following:
Reduces muscle soreness
When a person exercises intensely or uses a new routine, they will likely feel muscle soreness and stiffness later or the following day. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is a common issue that
Due to strenuous exercise routines, bodybuilders are likely to experience DOMS. While massages may help, a
Improves workout quality
The EPA and DHA present in fish oil may help
In a small 2018 study, men taking 2,400 milligrams (mg) of fish oil, which contains 600 mg of EPA and 260 mg of DHA, daily for 8 weeks experienced less muscle swelling than those taking a placebo.
In a small
However, research is somewhat limited, and further evidence is necessary to support whether fish oil supplements facilitate muscle growth or preserve muscle mass.
Prevents muscle loss due to aging
Everyone naturally loses muscle mass as they age, which doctors call sarcopenia. Once people reach 30 years of age, research suggests that muscle mass decreases by
Older individuals may find it more
Fish oil may also enhance the muscles’ sensitivity to protein and resistance training. A
However, while these results suggest potential benefits for older bodybuilders, more research is necessary to confirm if fish oil helps build and maintain muscle.
Although fish oil is a natural and popular product, people should explore the possible risks before beginning a new supplementation regime.
While research is inconsistent, some studies suggest a
DOMS is a painful consequence of bodybuilding, and fish oil appears to reduce the symptoms. However, its effect on strength and muscle size is not fully understood.
Whether someone should supplement with fish oil or not depends on their circumstances. Generally, taking fish oil can be beneficial because it
When considering dosage, there is no absolute rule on the level of omega-3s someone needs. Many studies use amounts between 1,000–5,000 mg. The European Food Safety Authority state that people can take EPA and DHA supplements at a combined dose of up to 5,000 mg daily.
However, due to potential side effects, guidelines recommend starting with a low dose before increasing to a more typical amount.
There is a range of dietary supplements that claim to enhance bodybuilding performance. These include:
- Protein powders: Consuming protein powder, such as whey protein, can increase protein intake and
aid athletic performanceand recovery. There is a wide variety of protein sources, including vegan options, which may help build muscle.
- Creatine: This supplement
providesmuscles with extra energy, which may improve exercise performance and help prevent injuries. It could also help people tolerate heavy training loads.
- Vegan fish oils: Algae is a vegan source of EPA and DHA that is
comparable to fish oil. A 2013 studynotes that algae oils may offer a promising and sustainable alternative to fish oil.
Alternatively, eating a diet rich in protein and other nutrients from eggs, fish, meat, dairy products, vegetables, beans, and pulses may help individuals reach their bodybuilding goals.
Fish oil is a rich source of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Bodybuilders may find supplementation with fish oil beneficial as it may help reduce DOMS and increase muscle strength and range of motion. However, further research is still necessary to support these claims.
While side effects are often minor, recommendations state that people consider the potential link between fish oil and prostate cancer.
With this in mind, it may be best to consult with a doctor before taking supplements. Additionally, some people may not require supplements and may instead experience sufficient fish oils from their diet.