CrossFit Newmarket Central
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Newmarket, ON, L3Y 7B8 Canada
Can omega3-3 fat from fish oil make you smarter? It certainly seems so. This notion is based on research from universities around the globe supportive that certain nutrients, especially DHA are absolutely critical for healthy brain development very early in the lifespan as well as maximizing the maintenance of cognitive capabilities towards the end. For instance, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported a significant relationship between omega-3 consumption in children and cognitive scores in children ages 6-16, especially in the females.2 DHA is short for docosahexaenoic acid, a special fat mostly found in the oil-rich fatty parts of fish and other marine life. Additionally researchers from Tufts University reported cognitive improvements in older women taking DHA and lutein supplements, which is supported by similar studies.3
One reason for the beneficial relationship between DHA and the brain is that DHA can make up about 10% of the non-water weight of brain and higher levels in the brain appear to allow for optimal blood flow during cognitive tasks.6 So, if someone calls you a “fathead” today, maybe that isn't such an insult as it was years ago. It's only fair to note that not all studies have found positive results of shorter term omega-3 supplementation studies.7 According to Dr Rob Wildman, author of The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health and creator of TheNutritionDr.com, “regular consumption is critical to optimize brain levels and it takes time, perhaps several months, to optimize brain levels”. Dr Wildman also explains “it simply makes sense that the best responders are infants and smaller children as DHA can get into freshly developing tissue, while for older children and healthy adults will take longer and the benefit can be less dramatic unless they are deficient.”
Inflammation is a commonly used term that describes the general chemical actions and bodily activities that endeavor to aggressively manage injury. While inflammatory activities are indeed necessary to help deal with acute, transient injuries, chronic or long term inflammation leads to tissue destruction, pain and discomfort. Omega-3 fatty acids, primarily EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) have anti-inflammatory properties and EPA-rich fish oil helps with discomfort by reducing the production of factors that stoke up inflammation and increasing factors that decrease it. Following this line of thought, liquid fish oil derived omega-3 fats, will not only be important to general health, but especially important for exercisers. Many exercisers, especially those just starting an exercise program, can experience joint discomfort during and after exercise and fish oil can help manage inflammation. Even in highly trained individuals, whose joints have adapted to better manage workout-induced inflammation, research suggests that fish oil supplements can reduce measures of inflammation in between workouts. Moreover, according to Dr Rob Wildman, author of The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health and creator of TheNutritionDr.com, “regular, long-term consumption of fish oil is critical to lessening exercise induced inflammation as it can take several weeks for EPA to concentrate in tissue in order to provide benefit.” Regarding why someone should choose a liquid fish oil, Dr Wildman continues “many people have an easier time keeping on track with the daily supplementation of liquid fish oil because they can take less and don't to swallow a bunch of huge pills or deal with the fish burps provided that they choose a really pure product.”
Liquid fish oils can deliver life enhancing EPA and DHA and do so without introducing many of the potentially harmful factors that are common in certain fish such as heavy metals like mercury, lead and cadmium and toxins such as PCBs. Be sure to look for liquid fish oils that are specially processed by molecular distillation or other validated methodology to ensure purity.
So, look for products produced in pharmaceutical licensed facilities with technology that removes toxins, odors, and bad tastes and that also ensures their products are free of toxins, molds, heavy metals, and pesticides as tested by respected outside laboratories. This will help ensure purity and quality of the liquid fish oil as often what is on the label isn't exactly what is in the bottle.
How much skeletal muscle you have is a matter of simple algebra. According to Dr Roger Adams, “muscle protein is broken down and made throughout the day and these counterbalancing, yet distinct processes, are influenced by exercise and nutrition.” Dr Adams continues “Net gains or losses in body muscle is reflective of what is happening in muscle on a daily basis over a long enough period of time (weeks) for people to see and/or measure change. Said differently, net gains in muscle means that more muscle protein building (synthesis) has occurred than protein breakdown resulting in a net gain in muscle protein.” So, how does fish oil play into all of this? Fish oil omega-3 fats seem to be important in optimizing muscle protein synthesis according to recent studies out of Washington University and the University of Nottingham.1 In one study, healthy men and women were provided fish oil supplements and their muscle protein production was assessed before starting and then after 8 weeks of supplementation. One of the main findings of this study was that supplementation of fish oil significantly increased muscle protein production in response to eating protein and carbohydrate. This suggests a potential benefit of fish oil supplementation by people interested in building or maintaining muscle mass, weight loss or for certain strength and power athletes. Subsequent study found this to the he case in older individuals as well.
Let's face it fish or other water life forms don't know you, your body, or how hard you exercise, nor would they even care. That means it's simply impossible to get the amount of fish oil and the exact amounts of brain, heart and muscle nourishing omega-3 fats, namely EPA and DHA, you need from simply eating fish. High quality, purified fish oil makes it easy to consume one or couple grams of EPA and DHA and in the specific ratio you are looking for depending on your personal need(s). One of problems with eating seafood is that you really don't know how much and what ratio of these key omega-3 fats you are getting; and you can't simply ask the fish either. Moreover, some of the advantages of liquid fish oil over pills are that the liquid is simply easier to consume and better tolerated than pills. In fact, a recent university study out of Australia found that people who supplemented with liquid fish oil experienced very minor intolerances and certainly not enough to deter to supplementation.1 What's more, softgels are more likely to result in fish burps and an upset stomach, which has been pointed out as common complaints by researchers.
Researchers continue to reveal additional benefits of greater consumption of omega-3 fats throughout life. For instance, university research syudies have revealed that people who consume more omega-3 fat tend to be at lower risk of degenerative eye diseases such as AMD later in life. Just as the omega-3 fat DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which is found in fish and other marine life, is stockpiled in the cell membranes of the brain, it is also found concentrated in the retina and macula of the eye. According to Dr Rob Wildman, author of The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health and creator of TheNutritionDr.com, “one common dietary concept in studies such as these is that while omega-3 fat intake was critical, reducing the level of omega-6 intake was also an important factor.”
Fish consumption is recognized as one of the most beneficial supplements for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. What's more, fish oil supplementation has also shown to have similar cardiovascular benefit. However, most of its benefit does not have to do with reducing cholesterol as much as positively modifying other factors that contribute to cardiovascular health such as lowering triglycerides, reducing inflammatory in blood vessel walls, reducing platelet activity and supporting healthier blood pressure levels. According to Dr Rob Wildman, author of The Nutritionist: Food, Nutrition & Optimal Health and creator of TheNutritionDr.com, “much of the benefit comes from EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), an omega-3 fat which can get into the tissue lining blood vessels and be converted to other beneficial factors.” Dr Wildman continues “don't expect overnight benefit of taking liquid fish oil as it can take several weeks to months in order to have measurable benefit; but the health of your heart is worth the patience.”
Let's face it, anything we do above and beyond our most essential activities, convenience is one of the biggest factors in determining how successful we will be doing it. This is surely the case for taking supplements as well. Easy to drink liquid fish oil takes but a few seconds daily and is supplementation at it's finest. Liquid fish oil is ready to consume anytime or any place and while most users pour onto a spoon to consume or measure into a recipe, other people simply sip right off the bottle. What's more, often convenience of one option is best gauged relative to other options. If you look at the Supplement Facts panels and add of the milligrams of EPA and DHA, it can take five or more pills (softgels) to get the same level of beneficial omega-3 fats as a teaspoon of liquid fish oil. No one enjoys taking all those pills, especially if they are taking other supplements. Liquid fish oil is simply the better, more convenient choice. What's more, liquid fish only can also be added to smoothies and other recipes including salad dressings.
Who doesn't want a leaner body? While further research is needed, some data suggests that taking a gram or more of fish oil can help keep children leaner during development or support leaning efforts by adults.1 On the body fat side of body composition, one study including overweight adults that walked 3 days/week at 75% of their predicted maximal heart rate for 12 weeks and took 1.5 g of combined EPA+DHA, in the end, those receiving the fish oil lost more body fat than those not receiving the supplement. On the muscle side of body composition, Fish oil omega-3 fats seem to be important in optimizing muscle protein synthesis according to recent studies out of Washington University and the University of Nottingham. While, liquid fish oil by itself may not impact body weight it can support a leaner body as well as efforts to trim and tone.
Fish oil supplementation has been noted in several students to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. In fact, fish oil is noted as having some of the most impactful nutrients for the brain. One reason for this beneficial relationship is that DHA can make up about 10% of the non-water weight of brain and higher levels in the brain appear to allow for optimal blood flow. While fish oil based fats seem help people have a nice day you can't count on the impact immediately; it can take weeks for DHA to become more concentrated in brain tissue and support a more positive mood. In the meantime, liquid fish oil can make you happier simply by not having to take several large softgels to get the same level of omega-3s.
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