Should bodybuilders use an omega-3 supplement?

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This article looks at how an omega-3 supplement can help both experienced and entry-level bodybuilders. When thinking about taking a supplement for bodybuilding, part of your decision-making process should involve the following six letters:

  • MPB (Muscle Protein Breakdown)
  • MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis)

Bodybuilders, of course, want to grow muscle. To do this, the body must be in an anabolic state, meaning that the level of MPS in the body is higher than the level of MPB. 

When MPB levels are higher than MPS, the body is in a catabolic state. When this happens, the body is actually burning more muscle than it is creating, leading to the opposite effect of what bodybuilders are looking for.

We’re big fans of the science behind medicine and supplementation. With so many options available online, it can be tough to identify a supplement that actually provides such a tangible result as the impact omega-3 fatty acids have on muscle anabolism. For instance, the US National Library of Medicine has found in studies that, “data have emerged demonstrating a positive influence of omega-3 fatty acid intake on skeletal muscle.” 

Simplified Omega-3, such as that found in GLX3, can help the body gain and optimize the anabolic state, leading to stronger and faster muscle growth when combined with the proper strengthening exercises. 

Another convenient win is that many activities and practices that encourage muscle anabolism such as eating lean protein, particularly after a workout, and staying properly hydrated, happen to coincide quite well with an omega-3 supplement. There’s no need to add a whole other step to your fitness or dining routine, simply take the supplement with your morning meal. 

How do omega-3s help bodybuilders?

Exercise, whether strength conditioning, cardio, or otherwise, takes its toll on the human body. While the net result of exercise is very positive, the body must recover the energy, calories, and vital nutrients burned during extended periods of physical activity.

When it comes to weightlifting and other muscle strengthening exercises, that recovery period consists of muscles and joints returning to a state of relaxation following inflammation. Omega-3s help this process in three primary ways:

  • Omega-3s alter muscle protein turnover, according to the National Library of Medicine, because they double the amount of amino acids absorbed, helping the body remain in that anabolic state where the muscles are growing rather than protracting. Scientifically speaking, “the increased rate of amino acid clearance from the systemic circulation following omega-3 fatty acid provision was likely a function of either greater amino acid uptake into peripheral tissues, increased amino acid oxidation, and/or a reduction in the rate of protein breakdown.”
  • Omega-3s are widely known to benefit the joints during periods of inflammation and strain, acting as a vital pain reliever and lubricant that helps joints function properly.
  • Omega-3s can actually help to reduce the typical muscle soreness that occurs after a workout. 

Do omega-3s help muscle growth in older weightlifters?

Actually, the benefit to muscle anabolism is particularly true in older people. As you age, the ability to perform heavy workouts on a regular basis becomes riskier, as some parts of the body are stronger than others. Add any chronic health problems or prior injuries to the mix, and this is only more so. Fortunately, with an omega-3 supplement, you may not have to do the same level of workout as you did at a younger age to earn the reward of muscle growth. The same National Library of Medicine study found that, “omega-3 fatty acid ingestion alleviates the loss of muscle mass and prevents decrements in mitochondrial respiration during periods of muscle-disuse.”  

When is the best time to take a supplement to maximize its impact on my bodybuilding efforts?

The best time to take an omega-3 supplement for optimum benefit is with breakfast. Taking the supplement in the morning means its inflammation-fighting power can be harnessed during that day’s workout. And, because the supplement can help reduce your post-workout soreness, you can train to the best of your abilities without having to stress about whether you’ll be able to lift your backpack or water bottle the next day, without immense amounts of pain or discomfort.

To complement the work of the supplement, try taking it with a healthy carb-heavy breakfast. Our favorite looks something like this (though we sometimes swap out the oatmeal for a whole-grain cereal or whole-grain toast, and the fruit varies by season):

  • Steel-cut oats or oatmeal
  • 2 scrambled egg whites or one hard-boiled egg
  • 1 small cup of fat-free yogurt (probiotics!)
  • 1 apple, 1 orange, or 1 serving of blueberries

If you’re on the go, make a heart-healthy smoothie to coincide with your supplement, such as the following:

  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 3 cups of fruit — oranges, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
  • 1 cup milk alternative of your choice

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