What is Fish Oil
Oil extracted from fatty fish tissue which contains EPA and DHA (known as Omega 3 fatty acids). Omega 3 fatty acids are considered a dietary essential because it cannot be produced by our bodies and must come from an external source. You can get Fish Oil in soft, gel capsules or as a liquid.
The average North American diet is very high in Omega 6 fatty acids, which come from meat, eggs, etc. but low in Omega 3 fatty acids as fish-based diets are not all that common.
The Fish Oil Claim: Fish oil will reduce joint pain and reduce inflammation in athletes. This will cause faster recovery after workouts.
The Key Research
Fish Oil is one of the most studied supplements. Research is generally positive showing that a good Omega 6:3 fatty acid ratio can deliver a host of health benefits to the human body.
- A 1:1 ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids prevents diseases: There has been quite a bit of research done on fish oil and studies do support many positive benefits of having a omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acid en of 1:1([1. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). (2008)]).
- Fish oil can decrease depression, memory loss, and heart disease rates: Studies show evidence that Fish Oil can help decrease depression([2. Martins JG. EPA but not DHA appears to be responsible for the efficacy of omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in depression: evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. J Am Coll Nutr. (2009)]), alzheimer’s, lowering mortality from heart disease, among other benefits([3. Marik PE, Varon J. Omega-3 dietary supplements and the risk of cardiovascular events: a systematic review. Clin Cardiol. 2009 Jul;32(7):365-72.])
- May reduce soreness and inflammation([47. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16234304] )([32. (Ferrucci L, Cherubini A, Bandinelli S, Bartali B, Corsi A, Lauretani F, Martin A, Andres-Lacueva C, Senin U, Guralnik JM. Relationship of plasma polyunsaturated fatty acids to circulating inflammatory markers.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Feb;91(2):439-46.])
- May help with body composition with losing fat faster in men with bodyfat levels over 15% and women with bodyfat levels over 25%([5. Noreen E, Sass M, Crowe, Pabon V, Brandauer J, Averill L. Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults . J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 31])([28. Couet C, et al. Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. (1997)])
- May increase muscle protein synthesis and thus add more muscle([6. Smith GI, Atherton P, Reeds DN, Mohammed BS, Rankin D, Rennie MJ, Mittendorfer B. 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 (Lond). 2011 Sep;121(6):267-78])
There are more benefits listed, but I’ve given the main ones as I’ve seen it.
Fish oil in the proper omega 6:1 ratio can deliver plenty of general health benefits which can trickle down to benefit athletic performance indirectly. The anti-inflammatory properties could also help athletes with their training recovery times
The research shows fish oil ratios of Omega 3:6 ratio of 1:1 can bestow a host of health benefits. If your diet does not include a lot of fatty fish, fish oil can be beneficial as it will bring your omega 6:3 ratio closer to 1:1. If you do eat a lot of fatty fish, fish oil is unnecessary. There is some strong arguments that humans used to have a positive ratio near 1:1 before technology brought about changes in diet and a drastic increase in the Omega 6 intake ([7. Simopoulos AP. Overview of evolutionary aspects of omega 3 fatty acids in the diet. World Rev Nutr Diet. (1998)]).
Unless you naturally eat a lot of fatty fish in your diet, you are unlikely to have this Omega 6:3 ratio. The average American and European diet is more along the lines of a 15:1([8. Simopoulos AP. The importance of the omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). (2008)])([9. Sanders TA. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in Europe. Am J Clin Nutr. (2000)]). The Japanese, on the other hand, have a much better ratio at 4:1 ([31. Sugano M, Hirahara F. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in Japan. Am J Clin Nutr. (2000)])
Meeting this ratio is where fish oil delivers most of the benefits, those being healthier blood vessels, reduced plaque buildup, and a lower lipid count. In regards to supplementation for athletes, fish oil can aid in reducing inflammation and joint pain which can lead to faster recovery and the ability to train more. There is also evidence from the studies that fish oil might speed up fat loss in individuals who are decently lean (15% for men 25% for women). It might help in fat loss in obese individuals. There is some evidence it can promote muscle protein synthesis though more research needs to be done in this area before any defines can be concluded.
SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT WITH FISH OIL
Worth supplementing if you don’t eat a lot of fatty fish in your diet, but you must ingest enough of it to see the benefits. Keeping a ratio of Omega 6 to 3 fatty acids near 1:1 offers a number of health benefits like lowering the risk of a number of chronic disease, heart health, potential fat loss benefits, and may lessen inflammation
SHOULD YOU SUPPLEMENT WITH FISH OIL FOR MUAY THAI?
if your diet does not include a lot of fatty fish (and most diets do not). The health benefits alone make fish oil a worthy general supplement. In regards to Muay Thai, fish oil may reduce inflammation which could allow you to recover from training-related punishment a bit faster