Anyone who wants to maximize their muscle gains, burn fat and improve their overall health should be supplementing with high quality fish oil every day.
Fish oil contains the extremely valuable omega 3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, which produce a nearly endless list of benefits related both to body composition and health.
While I could go on and on about fish oil’s beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, immune system and on improving blood pressure and cholesterol, today’s article focuses specifically on the subject of fish oil for bodybuilding.
1) Fish Oil Increases Muscle Anabolism
Recent research at the Washington University School of Medicine has shown that fish oil is actually an anabolic substance.
When a group of 25-45 year olds were given 4 grams of fish oil daily, the researchers found a significant increase in muscle protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the process where cells combine individual amino acids to build complete proteins. Since proteins are the fundamental building blocks of muscle tissue, this is pretty damn important.
They also found a notable increase in both the mTOR and p70S6K pathways, which are key signalling pathways that control muscle cell growth.
2) Fish Oil Decreases Muscle Catabolism
Not only does fish oil help you build new muscle tissue faster, but it also helps you preserve your existing gains.
Your muscles are constantly undergoing a process of both anabolism (muscle growth) and catabolism (muscle breakdown). Your net muscle gains are determined by taking the total amount of anabolism and subtracting the total amount of catabolism. Minimize muscle catabolism and you maximize your overall muscle gains.
Fish oil suppresses muscle catabolism in 2 main ways…
The first is by lowering cortisol levels. Cortisol is a powerful catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue for use as energy.
The second is by decreasing the activity of the “ubiquitin-proteasome system”. This system is the main cause of muscle breakdown, but is suppressed when EPA intake increases.
3) Fish Oil Decreases Inflammation
Scientists at Harvard Medical School found that DHA (one of the two key components of fish oil) signals the release of nitric oxide in blood vessels.
Nitric oxide prevents white blood cells from sticking to blood vessels, which reduces inflammation.
Not only does a reduction in inflammation improve muscle recovery, but it also has beneficial effects on your joints and connective tissues. Since intense weight training places a lot of stress on these structures, fish oil may be an important supplement in preventing injuries and managing existing training induced aches and pains.
4) Fish Oil Enhances Fat Loss
EPA and DHA decrease the activity of certain fat-storing enzymes while simultaneously increasing the activity of enzymes responsible for fat oxidation.
Fish oil also increases thermogenesis, which is the number of calories that your body burns as heat energy each day.
On top of this, fish oil helps the body become more efficient at converting carbohydrates into energy, which reduces the percentage of dietary carbs that end up being stored as fat.
All in all I’d say these are 4 pretty compelling reasons to make use of fish oil for bodybuilding purposes.