Most people only purchase an Omega-3 supplement when they’re trying to push their Myprotein cart over $100 for free delivery.
That shouldn’t be the case.
These little gold capsules may lack the sexyness of a brand new whey protein, or the bold promises of a powerful pre-workout which claims it’s going to “split your skin”, but they still pack a very impressive punch!
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The Benefits Of Omega-3
The first benefit we must speak about is increased muscle retention (your body’s ability to keep lean muscle tissue).
That should prick up the ears of every reader who lifts weights (which I assume is 100% of my blog readers), and it’s worth knowing that I’m referring to trainees both old and young here.
You see, it’s long been known that fish oil can help us as we grow older, but new research suggests it can be almost as impactful for young adults, too! In a study from Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, researchers discovered that young trainees who supplemented with 4 grams of Omega-3 each day saw a greater anabolic response to insulin, larger muscle cells, and an improved rate of muscle protein synthesis. (1, 2)
And there’s more…
Underneath their squishy exterior, these little bad boys are concealing a stack of additional health benefits!
Once consumed, the DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in Omega-3 are involved in several key mechanisms; including boosting your memory, improving your mood, and switching on genes which are responsible for starting the fat burning process (and turning off genes which slow it down). (4, 5)
Another huge benefit is their ability to improve the protection of your body’s cells as you age. Research shows us that low levels of DHA and EPA are heavily linked to long-term DNA damage, which can speed up the physical signs of aging, and in some cases even lead to neurological disease. Interestingly, a 2020 study from Brazilian researchers discovered that trainees with the highest levels of DHA and EPA actually had the lowest DNA damage of all participants, so by giving your body a regular dose of Omega-3 you are helping it fight back against Father Time! (3)
Finally, in a higher dose (3g/day) Omega-3 has been shown to help offset muscle soreness – definitely a useful benefit for anyone who lifts weights! (6)
What About Omega-6 & Omega-9?
Most supplement stores offer a range of fish oil supplements, including:
Human nature tells us that a higher number equals a better product, but that’s not true here.
As explained above, the fatty acids DHA and EPA are responsible for the vast majority of the health benefits fish oil offers us, and they are found in most abundance in Omega-3.
Omega-6 does offer some anti-inflammatory benefits, but the same benefits are easily found in vegetables, and it’s worth knowing that Omega-6 does not offer any of the gym-related benefits you’d get from Omega-3. Meanwhile, Omega-9 is the weak link of the fish oil family, because the body can create it, plus regular daily cooking items (like olive oil) are packed with it, so you’re getting it without even trying.
That’s why I recommend sticking with your good old Omega-3 supplement.
Omega-3: Russ’ Rating
This is a no-brainer!
Barely anyone eats enough fish to obtain sufficient Omega-3 fatty acids, and they offer such a massive set of benefits, that it just makes sense to grab a good supplement and take it every day.
When you are looking for a good Omega-3 supplement, pay attention to the dose of DHA and EPA. Optimal results are achieved with a daily dose between 0.5-1.8 grams (split 50/50 between DHA and EPA). You could consume this all on one go, or split it throughout the day with multiple smaller servings.
I recommend ignoring the cheap ones on display in your local supermarket, because they contain very little of what you’re looking for (DHA and EPA) so while they appear good value for money at first, they require massive servings just to hit your daily requirements. I also recommend avoiding over-priced ones like this.
Instead, I recommend grabbing this one from Myprotein. It does the job just fine!
- Smith G. I., et al.Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr (2011).
- Smith G. I., et al. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia–hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women. Clin Sci (2011).
- de Barros T. T, et al. DNA damage is inversely associated to blood levels of DHA and EPA fatty acids in Brazilian children and adolescents. Food Funct (2020).
- Yu Y-H., et al. The function of porcine PPARγ and dietary fish oil effect on the expression of lipid and glucose metabolism related genes. J Nutr Biochem (2011).
- Muldoon M. F., et al. Serum phospholipid docosahexaenonic acid is associated with cognitive functioning during middle adulthood. J Nutr (2010).
- Kris-Etherton P. M., et al. Fish consumption, fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, and cardiovascular disease. Circulation (2002).