The Connection Between Omega 3s and Muscle Building

athletic
Your body is a self-regulating machine that conducts itself in a way that’s necessary for your survival, but it isn’t perfect. In recognizing this, we take supplements to make up for what our bodies lack – but how do we know which supplements are effective? Some work wonderfully and others don’t work at all, but here’s one you should definitely be on the lookout for – especially if you’re on a mission to build muscle. It’s about time we talked about omega 3 fatty acids, and how research from the past few years indicates that they may play a vital role in muscle building.

Omega 3 Supplements

What Are Omega 3s?

Omega 3s are fatty acids that are the basis for many of the body’s vital functions. Notable omega 3s include docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These are most often found in fatty, cold water fish, nuts, leafy vegetables, and fish oil supplements. They are not naturally produced by the body, but are key in maintaining and regulating bodily functions in addition to preventing life-threatening conditions like heart disease, stroke and even cancer.

cells, Macrophage

What is Protein Synthesis?

“Protein synthesis is a process that occurs where our individual cells generate their specific proteins,” according to certified nutritionist Tammy Kacev. Further, according to strength and conditioning coach, functional medicine practitioner and sports nutritionist Brandon Mentore, “protein synthesis is the process of building functional protein complexes out of amino acids.” To put it simply, protein synthesis is an essential bodily process in building proteins. Your body needs protein in order to repair and replenish your cells, especially after strenuous activity. When you exercise, you’re tearing your muscles apart in order to rebuild them. That said, in periods of recovery after each workout, the consumption of protein enriched foods is vital.

Omega 3 healthy fats food salmon avocado on butchers block

Okay, Where Do Omega 3s Come in?

Omega 3s help metabolize proteins in your body, and “allow for the process of protein synthesis to happen,” according to Mentore. As a matter of fact, research indicates that omega 3 fatty acids not only facilitate protein synthesis, but also boost the effects of your workout even after its completion. Studies indicate that DHA and EPA can be stored in the phospholipid bilayer of cells for later use. If you consume enough of either fatty acid, you can alter the composition of the fats that make up the bilayer if your cells – or in other words, alter your body composition – much like what you do your body when you exercise.

Board certified psychiatrist Celia Trotta asserts that “omega 3 polyunsaturated fats help modulate aspects of inflammation and immunity, cell growth and tissue repair,” aiding in the process of protein synthesis. Mentore maintains this, arguing that “omega 3’s have an anti-inflammatory operation to them, which allows your body to engage in more anabolic (building) processes. Inflammation is a form of catabolism, which is to break down. The more inflammation you can reduce the more favorable anabolic conditions will be to enable protein synthesis to occur.” As a result, omega 3s are now being considered an alternative to NSAID pain relievers for their anti-inflammatory properties – so not only are your muscles building themselves long after your workout, but your recovery time between workouts is potentially shortened. So if you’re trying to bulk up naturally, fish oil may just be the supplement for you.

Taking fish oil is a great start to creating a complete supplement regimen. WellPath offers a free consultation to determine a unique combination of supplements for your goals and needs. Get started here.

About Raven Hicks

Raven is an undergraduate student at Hunter College earning her BA in English Literature, Linguistics and Rhetoric. Raven is an avid reader and writer, who hopes to inspire change through the power of her voice.