The supplement industry is a million dollar industry, if you are into some kind of athletic sport or bodybuilding without a doubt you have probably bought some kind of supplements.
Legal steroids, whey protein, and creatine are all very popular in the sports industry, but sometimes we tend to overlook the obvious, and one of the most obvious supplements that are overlooked by many bodybuilders is fish oil.
There are hundreds of brands of fish oil which are readily available, I can still remember my parents talking about the nasty taste of cod liver oil that used to come in a liquid form, but most children were forced to take it because it was thought to have many health benefits.
Fish oil contains essential nutrients that our body cannot produce on its own
When it comes to a healthy diet many health advocates say we should eat fish at least 2 times a week, this is because fish, especially salmon and mackerel contain important omega 3 fatty acids including EPA and DHEA.
In many countries, fish is not cheap, and some of us just don't like the way it tastes. So if you are someone who hates fish or can't fit it into your budget there are fish oil supplements that offer the same benefits.
Who should take fish oil?
Fish oil can be taken by anyone, bodybuilders, children, pregnant women, and people who are sedentary, however, bodybuilders and athletes find fish oil a must have supplement because of the effects it can have on body composition.
1. Fish oil reduces cortisol levels and reduces fat
There have been several studies performed on the effects that fish oil can have on cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that controls many functions in our body, it regulates blood pressure, and ensures proper metabolism of glucose.
Excess levels of cortisol are released when we are under heavy stress. when your body produces excess cortisol levels it makes you hungry and increases blood sugar levels which are stored as fat, this causes weight gain.
Fish oil helps lower and regulate cortisol levels, one study was performed over a 6 week period on 44 men and women, the results showed an increase of lean muscle mass and a decrease in overall body fat, the reduction had to do with the reduction of cortisol levels.
2. Fish oil helps lower cholesterol
High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease, people who suffer from high cholesterol usually end up having to take medications which can cause secondary side effects, bottom line is that having high cholesterol is not healthy.
Most doctors will tell you that the only way to lower your cholesterol is by taking statins (medication) but many studies have shown that fish oil has more of an effect on lowering cholesterol than statins do. the omega 3 fats in fish oil have a bigger influence on lowering HDL cholesterol levels than taking a pill.
3. Fish oil keeps your heart healthy
Besides lowering cholesterol, fish oil also slows down plaque buildup in the arteries, lowers triglyceride levels, prevents inflammation of blood vessels and prevents the formation of blood clots. Fish oil can also help lower blood pressure.
4. Fish oil may prevent and kill certain kinds of cancer
Several studies have shown that consuming fish oil can help kill certain kinds of cancer including prostate, breast, and colon cancer, it also improves the effectiveness of conventional cancer medications.
One study performed by Czech researchers showed that DHA not only kills colon cancer as a standalone treatment, it can also enhance other drug therapies that utilize TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand)!
5. Reduce symptoms of depression and improve mental focus
There are more than a dozen studies that have shown that fish oil can reduce the symptoms in rats, but what about us humans?
One study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Neuroscience that evaluated the effects of fish oil supplements in adolescents, the study revealed that there was a 40% decrease in major symptoms of depression disorders while improving overall focus and concentration.
6. Fish oil can improve mobility and joint health
Joint pain is a common ailment for many and can get worse with age, athletes, and bodybuilders are very susceptible to joint pain but the EPA and DHA have been shown to be effective in the treatment of joint pain, the reason being is that EPA and DHA act as an anti-inflammatory.
Omega 3 fatty acids are absorbed into the cartilage cell membranes, this helps decrease enzymes that degrade cartilage and inflammatory cytokines.
What are the best fish oils
This is a matter of preference, the fresher the better, most health food store and drug stores sell fish oil. Different fish oils will have different concentrations of Omega 3. You will find omega 3 in regular fish oil, cod liver oil, and Krill oil. Any good fish oil should have at least 1000mg per capsule.
Even though you can get fish oil from a dietary supplement your first choice should be to try and get your daily requirements from natural sources. If you still have doubts about how much you need you should consult with a certified dietition or family doctor and ask for their recommendations.