If you train consistently, you may deal with joint and muscle soreness and psychological stress. A healthy diet is essential, but it may not be enough.
Since the typical American diet is severely lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, a fish oil supplement can help you take your diet from good to great.
Here are my top 3 reasons why every athlete should supplement with fish oil.
RELATED: The Benefits Of Coffee For Athletes
1. Decreases Inflammation
Each competition or training session induces mechanical trauma at a muscular level. This muscle damage can lead to the production of arachidonic acid (AA), a substance that causes inflammation. Arachidonic acid can then further lead to the metabolism of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), another pro-inflammatory substance. This can cause your muscles to ache, which can decrease your range of motion, power and strength output, and overall performance.
2. Promotes Anabolism/Metabolic Wellness
Excessive inflammation has been shown to increase muscle protein breakdown. Fish oil improves the body's ability to synthesize protein to build muscle and metabolize fat and glucose for energy. So, if your goal is to pack on muscle and keep up your energy, fish oil is key.
RELATED: Game Day Nutrition With Paul George
3. Reduces Psychological Stress
Between competition, training, and working or studying, athletes are under a lot of stress. Fish oil supplementation of 1.5 to 1.8 grams has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone norepinephrine in highly stressed people. Further research has also shown that fish oil supplementation improves cognitive function while decreasing occurrences of depression and anxiety.
When looking for a fish oil supplement, make sure it is molecularly distilled and pure, third-party tested and free of contaminants. It should also contain EPA and DHA (not ALA), and the overall lipid matrix should consist of at least 30% EPA and DHA.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock