The Many Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil is grossly underestimated as an anabolic supplement, plus it makes you healthier and smarter… There’s no limit to the benefits that omega-3 bring to health. Now, it seems they even help you pack on more muscle in addition. They do this in two ways: they upregulate anabolic pathways in the muscle, while also downregulating catabolic pathways at the same time.
The Science of Anabolic Fish Oil
The muscle-building properties of omega-3 were explored in two studies. The first one was performed on a group of 25-45 year old males who were supplemented with 4 grams of fish oil a day for 8 weeks. This study was conducted by researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri. This dosage provided 1.50 gr of DHA and 1.85 gr of EPA, and the researchers looked at its effects on protein synthesis. In layman’s term, this is called muscle-building, as proteins are the building blocks of muscles. The results was a significantly enhanced anabolic response to amino acids and greater insulin sensitivity. These have been shown to be derived from an increased activation of the mTOR pathway. This pathway is one of the most important signalling mechanism in the body for protein synthesis and cell growth.
The other study, performed by the same group of researchers, applied a similar protocol to a group of older adults, with the same results. So it appears that fish oil is anabolic no matter how old you are. This is good news for elderly folks, who often lose muscle mass to the point of being frail. Omega-3 supplementation could thus be a way to fight against age-related muscle catabolism, a phenomenon called sarcopenia.
Although there is little conclusive evidence at this point, some clues point to the fact that other mechanisms may also play a role in this fish oil/muscle anabolism connection, such as fatty acid concentration a in the cell membrane. As this phenomenon also affects insulin sensitivity, it lends credence to my personal belief about insulin sensitivity. In order to start gaining muscle mass, you must first get lean (which increases insulin sensitivity).
What brand and should you get pills or oil?
I want to state that I’m not affiliated with any brand, I just give recommendations based on what I find to be the best, cleanest, and most researched companies out there. The problem with fish oil in pill form is that you need to take a lot to actually get what you need. Most fish oil is not pure fish oil. So if Brand X says they have 1000mg or 1g of fish oil per serving (which could be 3 pills) might only contain 100mg of epa and dha leaving the other 800mg of leftover fat, oil, and crap we don’t need. So you end up taking 10-20 pills a day to get what you need and your ingesting 1000’s of mg of oil and fish crap that won’t do you a lick of good. This is why I recommend doing straight oil out of a container, Usually a teaspoon or 2 will do you good. Look for high concentrations of EPA and DHA vs the total amount of fish oil in a serving. I recommenced Stronger Faster Healthier Omega 3 Fish Oil, it’s the purest and most concentrated fish oil I have found to date.
Think you can do without your fish oil for a total physique overhaul? Think again!