Fish oil and exercise recovery

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Can someone help me understand the impact fish oils have on exercise recovery? I've heard fish oil suggested a lot (in the paleosphere and elsewhere) to improve recovery. If I understand inflammation correctly, there is some level of inflammatory reaction that's needed to repair damaged tissue... on a very basic level that's why our bodies have an inflammatory response. If high omega-3 intake decreases inflammation, how is that beneficial to healing?

And does the blood thinning effects of fish oil come in to play? I do notice when I take fish oil I sometimes have more extensive bruising than when I don't.

I'm asking both about micro-inflammation/micro-repair to muscle tissues, as well as what happens when you have some kind of athletic trauma like a muscle pull, bruise or (god forbid) broken bone.



on April 17, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Carbs are not "essential".

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3 Answers



on March 06, 2012
at 03:53 PM

Well, here is a study on rats: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7931249 .

I believe it adds some cred to the generally accepted belief that fish oil supplementation aids muscle recovery. I think the study answers your more subtle points as well.

Here is a pretty good performance-centric fact sheet on fish oil: http://www.nutros.net/nsr-0200c.html .

There are a ton of articles available online regarding this, but always try to seek out their sources. The evidence is looking pretty strong that fish oil is fantastic for general health and recovery.



on April 03, 2012
at 11:12 AM

More important that fish oils is a ratio of 4:1 or less in Omega-6's to Omega-3's. I am an avid amateur competitive cyclist and find no problem recovering from intense riding eating paleo. I do supplement with fish oils because I can't fully control grass fed meats and eggs from meals at work/restaurants. Unlike carbs, your body needs Omega-6's, so it is not a matter of eliminating them. The key is keeping the balance in the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3’s to 4:1 or less.



on April 03, 2012
at 02:29 AM

fish oil what is it, an essential fat, what does it do, it decreases inflammation. omega 6 is the converse of this an in animals they are found together sometimes more omega 6 to three and sometimes the converse in each situation the amount needed should be somewhat balanced between 1:1 to 4:1. you need both wether you exercise or not if hunter gatherers had these ratios for 2 billion years of our evolution I would not think that taking it after a hard anaerobic workout would matter and my reason why:

if you think about carrying an animal that weight hundres of pounds with a couple buddys or alonge for long distances depending on how far the camp was every day to every couple of days in a hunter gatherer lifestyle that would be considered anaerobic exercise.

after this anaerobic session of hauling carcass you would consume the high omega 3 rich meat that in some tissues such as the brain eyes and nervous system would have high concentrations of omega 3 and would probably not affect your body in any negative way it another essential fat.

exercise is essential so is fat carbs and protein which entails essential fatty acids as just another essential component of our natural evolutionary biology.

but if your supplementing fish oil (which i do to make up for the deficit in the american meat supply) and you do not mix it with other fats your dealing with an isolated component that may have different affects if taken directly after exercise and reducing post exercise induced inflammatory healing processes.

my suggestion would be just to take the fish oil with any time you eat any other naturall occuring serving of fat. so if you eat some beef and its a fatty cut you know a portion of salmon has about 1 gram fish oil so take a few grams with a portion of meat and you should be alright don't put it in your shake unless its a serving of fat since the omega 6 and saturated fats are inflammatory and will balance out the anti inflammatory abilities of omega 3 and monounsaturated fats.

i think of my fats like this omega 3 and monounsaturated = anti inflammatory while omega 6 and saturated fat = inflammatory. take them as a complete source and the inflammation is balanced and the body will react to exercise as it naturally would in a paleo world both anaerobic and aerobic. take fish oil by itself in a lean protein shake and it seems anti inflamatory.



on April 17, 2012
at 07:05 PM

Carbs are not "essential".

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