We know fish oil can raise our essential omega-3 intake, and we’ve covered studies before showing fish oil benefits not only to heart health but also joint health. Today, we are reviewing a study that adds another potential benefit to fish oil: more-effective exercise results. Let’s learn a little more about fish oil, and then we’ll take a look at the study.
The Many Fish Oil Benefits
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are DHA and EPA. These are essential fatty acids, however, they must be consumed in the diet as the body does not self-produce them. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is believed to provide better brain benefits, while EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is believed to be more beneficial for our joints. The primary food source where we find omega-3 is fatty types of fish (e.g., oysters, crab, salmon, shellfish, etc.). The problem with this is that you have to eat a lot of fish for the body to fully benefit from its omega-3s, much, much more than the average American consumes.
One example of the benefits of a heavy fatty fish diet is the Inuit (Eskimo) population. Not only is the fish itself a regular, daily part of their diet, they even will typically drizzle even more fish oil over their fish. The result of these excessive-fish diets? Many believe that the fact that this population doesn’t suffer from the same chronic diseases that are rampant in most populations can be attributed to their fish-heavy diets.
As for those of us who don’t consume massive amounts of fatty fish, fish oil supplementation can help us get those critical DHA and EPA fatty acids. We’ve seen a variety of studies that show many fish oil benefits, such as the following:
- Fish oil may reduce hardening of the arteries.
- Fish oil may be beneficial in helping stroke victims recover.
- Fish oil may be able to turn bad inflammation into better healing.
- Fish oil may increase athletic efficiency.
- Fish oil may, as is already well known, reduce heart disease risk.
Now, let’s take a look at the study showing yet another potential benefit to fish oil: exercise results.
Fish Oil May Improve Exercise Results
One study consisted of 36 patients who were randomized to take either milk supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids (the test group) or milk with animal fat (the control group). The heavier patients with metabolic syndrome (i.e., prediabetes) then underwent an intense exercise program for six months. The results? In the fish oil group, insulin sensitivity improved by 32%. In addition, inflammation improved by 32% and cholesterol by 10%. In other words, when compared to the group that didn’t take fish oil, the metabolic issues in the fish oil group improved significantly as a result of the exercise.
The Key to Selecting Fish Oil: Get the Good Stuff
The fish oil you buy by the tub full at Walmart or Costco isn’t likely to provide the best results. When it comes to fish oil, you get what you pay for, and in this case it’s important to buy a high-quality fish oil that’s properly concentrated and processed. First and foremost, fish oil must have the amount of omega-3 fatty acids on the label. Most of those cheap fish-oil brands don’t list the amount of omega-3s on the label. In addition, those cheap fish oils are not being sold in their natural form.
There are too many studies showing amazing fish oil benefits for us to ignore the abundance of research. So get yourself a high-quality fish oil, take it regularly, and see for yourself.