Omega-3s are a group of unsaturated fatty acids, which includes 11 polyunsaturated fatty acids, including 3 (α-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)), are irreplaceable (not reproduced in the body in the required volume, and with their lack, a variety of biochemical and physiological disorders occur).
In 2017, scientists at Massachusetts Hospital conducted an experiment in which acids were found to reduce the level of inflammation and oxidative stress caused by inhaling polluted air by 50% ]
Omega-3 and bodybuilding
Without a sufficient supply of omega-3 fatty acids in the body, it is impossible to achieve the desired results in sport, whether it is weight loss, muscle gain or increased strength. With a lack of essential fatty acids, your performance will always be lower than it could have been. This article will talk about “good” fats, or rather omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, the role they play in sport and how to get enough of them.
Although omega-3 fatty acids have been known as essential ingredients for normal growth since the 1930s, it is only in the last few years that their full health benefits have been realized. Recently, new technologies have revealed esterified ethylated omega-3 fatty acids such as E-EPA and combinations of E-EPA and E-DHA. They have gained attention because they are highly refined and more effective than traditional omega-3s. They are available in Europe as a sports supplement.
The beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system became well known in the 1970s, after research by scientists. Study subjects consumed large amounts of seafood fats in order to identify their negative health effects, but, in fact, no cardiovascular disease was identified. The high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, widely consumed by Eskimos, can reduce the concentration of “bad” fats, which are the main causes of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes. and many other diseases.
On September 8, 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration officially recognized the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids and stated that “inconclusive but well-founded studies show that consumption of EPA and DHA fatty acids reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Today, almost all official health institutions agree on the beneficial properties of omega-3 fatty acids, and not only associated with cardiovascular disease, but many others.
With the full recognition of the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for health, a large number of omega-3 supplements and sports nutrition began to emerge.
In 2017, researchers at the University of Taiwan developed a special sensor to diagnose the freshness of fish, as incidents of fraud in the sale and marketing of seafood increased. Currently, most fish freshness checks are done visually, as the gold standard for testing requires complex chemistry and takes four hours.
Omega-3 effect spectrum
Omega-3s have a wide range of beneficial effects that are essential for building muscle . We only list the main ones:
- Increased metabolic rate.
- Accelerates the growth of lean muscle mass and the reduction of body fat. Can be used for both weight loss and weight gain.
- Increase insulin sensitivity by slowing the movement of food contents through the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly without creating peaks in concentration that cause desensitization of the insulin islands.
- Improving the rheological properties of blood, due to a decrease in viscosity, as a result of which blood pressure decreases, the risk of cardiovascular diseases, blood clot formation, strokes and heart attacks decreases.
- Improves general tone, endurance and neuromuscular function. A 2015 study showed improvement in all of these qualities in men during exercise compared to a placebo control group that used olive oil.
- They are precursors of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins E3, and also inhibit the synthesis pathway of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins E2, which are formed from omega-6 ] Prostaglandins E3 reduce the pain and inflammation that always accompany a intense exercise, while prostaglandins E2 have the opposite effect and are able to suppress lipolysis. Thus, post-workout muscle degradation is reduced, recovery time is shortened and fat utilization is increased.
- Omega-3 fatty acids prevent the destruction of cartilage in the joints. Several studies have noted that omega-3s relieve joint pain, improve joint mobility and suppress inflammation.
- Improves brain function, lifts morale. The brain substance is 60% fat and mostly needs omega-3 fatty acids to function properly. Long-term studies on the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the brain have proven their use even as prevention of schizophrenia in adolescents.
- Makes the skin softer and cleaner.
- A healthy source of energy without the risk of fat gain.
- They improve the production of hormones, including testosterone, the most important in bodybuilding
- Suppress the release of the catabolic hormone cortisol.
The polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega-3 series are also necessary in the following situations: functional disorders of the central nervous system, accompanied by a decrease in the level of mental energy and intellectual functions, states of chronic fatigue, rehabilitation after disorders acute cerebral circulation; rehabilitation after a heart attack, angiopathy; osteomyelitis, bone fractures, trophic ulcers; autoimmune diseases; glomerulonephritis; pregnancy; skin diseases, cosmetic programs, cancer prevention, etc.
Cholesterol and atherosclerosis
On cholesterol (HDL, LDL) omega-3 have little effect, but they lower triglycerides. The exact mechanism has not been established, but there is some evidence that this is associated with the suppression of lipogenesis and increased beta-oxidation of fatty acids in the liver.
Despite the fact that omega-3s do not have a significant effect on cholesterol levels, they can prevent the development of atherosclerosis by suppressing the inflammatory process that leads to the formation of cholesterol plaques in the walls of the vessels. blood, as well as their rupture. This is due to the effect on the expression of lipoprotein lipase, the effect on leukocytes and the suppression of the formation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. As a result, it provides a protective effect on the cardiovascular system and enables the use of omega-3 essential fatty acids for the prevention of myocardial infarction and stroke.
The ratio of omega-6s and omega-3s
Recent clinical studies have shown that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (especially linoleic and alpha-linic acid) also plays an important role. However, these data require confirmation, as subsequent testing did not establish such a correlation.
Omega-3s and omega-6s compete for the same enzymes, so the ratio of these fatty acids will affect the ratio of eicosanoids (their metabolic followers are hormones, mediators, and cytokines) such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, which means that they will have a significant effect on the whole body.
Omega-6 metabolites can significantly increase inflammatory responses (especially arachidonic acid), unlike omega-3s. It follows that to maintain the balance of biologically active substances, Omega-3 and Omega-6 must be consumed in certain proportions. Recommended ratios range from 1: 1 to 4: 1 Omega-6: Omega-3. As it has been calculated, it is these proportions which are evolutionarily the most appropriate. According to the methodological recommendations of Rospotrebnadzor of the Russian Federation, the optimal ratio in the daily diet of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids should be 5-10: 1.
These days, farmed meat contains high levels of omega-6s and negligible amounts of omega-3s. Cultivated vegetables and fruits also contain lower amounts of omega-3s than wild plants. Over the past 100 to 150 years, the amount of omega-6 in the diet has also increased significantly due to the high consumption of vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, safflower, cotton and soy. The reason for this was the recommendation to replace saturated fat with vegetable oils to lower blood cholesterol levels. Consumption of fish and seafood rich in omega-3 fatty acids has been significantly reduced. In the modern Western diet, the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is in the range of 10-30: 1,
This fact explains why omega-3 fats receive special attention.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids in foods
Seafood (excluding pharmaceuticals) is a complete source of omega-3 fatty acids. In the above oils, omega-3 fats are found as alpha-linolenic acid, and in fish and seafood as eicosapentaenoic and decosahexaenoic fatty acids, which are the most useful and active. Of course, in the body, alpha-linolenic acid can be converted into eicosapentaenoic and decosahexaenoic acids, but this process is not very efficient, especially in the elderly, diabetics, etc.
Unlike omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in almost all vegetable oils. In addition, omega-6 fatty acids are found in small amounts in many other foods, for example in fresh vegetables, so that we do not lack omega-6 fatty acids. Sunflower and corn oils contain no omega-3 fatty acids at all, but they do contain too much omega-6.
Nuts and seeds are good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids, but only omega-6 fatty acids. If you look at the comparison charts for omega fats in nuts, you will see that omega-3s are found in negligible amounts.
Fish as a source of omega-3
A 2017 study showed that eating fatty fish can lower triglyceride levels and increase HDL, or “good” cholesterol, thereby improving cardiovascular health. . However, it should be noted that almost all goldfish are now reared on fish farms. For rapid weight gain, the water is much warmer, and the diet is done with the mandatory addition of grain products and a very low algae content. As a result, omega 3s accumulate less. The fish remains fatty, but it is a different fat, similar in structure to that of the animal. If the head of a goldfish is small, the body is large, and the inside is wrapped with sufficiently dense fat, then this fish is raised on a farm. Wild goldfish have a very large head and the fat is distributed over the muscles. It is impossible to grow herring, capelin, sprat and mackerel under artificial conditions. They must be privileged.
Omega-3s are destroyed when heated, and fish is usually baked or baked, so most of the unsaturated fatty acids are destroyed during cooking.