Note: There are quite a few NIH reports quoted in this article and we at SupplementTester.com strongly recommend checking them out.
That way you’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether fish oil supplements are right for you.
Unless you’ve spent way too much time, hidden away in the gym over the past few years, you ‘ll know that fish oil and the Omega 3 fatty acids it contains, has become an extremely popular nutrition supplement.
It’s not just for the older generation or “new age” health types either.
Besides heart health and lowering LDL (bad) Cholesterol, supplementing with fish oil has other benefits of particular interest to those of us involved in bodybuilding.
Omega-3 fish oil contains both DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid). These two acids aren’t produced in our body, so the only way to get them is by eating oily fish and supplementing with fish oil or fish oil capsules.
Optimum Nutrition, the people behind Gold Standard Whey and other supplements have seen the benefits of fish oil to bodybuilders and now offer it in Enteric Coated Soft Gel capsules.
Now you may be thinking fish oil supplements are all the same, but you would be wrong.
Here we’ll briefly look at the two major benefits of fish oil supplementation, then focus on bodybuilding while reviewing O.N.’s soft gels.
Heart health and weight control
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), together DHA and EPA have been found to be important tools in fighting and managing heart disease and various studies have shown Omega 3 fish oil may:
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduce triglycerides
• Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
• Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
• Reduce the likelihood of heart attacks and strokes
• Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease
• Together, EPA and DHA help to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol), while raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL the good cholesterol).
Rheumatoid Arthritis / Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The National Institutes of Health report that taking Omega 3 fish oils can reduce the inflammation of this debilitating condition.
Reducing inflammation and stiffness, is one aspect of fish oil’s benefits we, as bodybuilders should really consider.
With countless hours spent in the gym, joints, tendons and ligaments can all become prone to deterioration through the repetitive movements and the loads placed on them.
It’s important to mention however, the NIH state it may take 3 months or more of supplementing before you notice any of these benefits.
Lean Muscle Gains
In two separate studies published by the NIH, one group of researchers has found, that Omega 3 fish oil has anabolic properties.
They discovered that protein synthesis in older adults began to increase after using Omega 3s for eight weeks. View report here.
The same benefit was also found in a younger test group, who showed an increase in the size of their muscle cell size after Omega 3 supplementation View report here.
While more research needs to be done in this area, results so far look promising.
Yet another study has shown that supplementing with fish oil can give a significant reduction in fat mass. Not surprisingly, the results are enhanced when Omega 3s are combined with regular exercise. View report here.
The research suggests that this may be because Omega 3 fatty acids cause your body to switch it’s preferred fuel source from carbohydrates and proteins to fat, so you burn more fat more often.
Great news! On an anecdotal level, fish oil users including the author, usually notice a decrease in appetite, especially cravings for fatty foods.
Optimum Nutrition’s take on Fish Oil
The multi award winning team at O.N. have developed their soft gel capsules to make getting your daily dose of Omega 3s as easy as possible without having to change to an Eskimo’s diet.
One of the things I remember (not fondly) from growing up, is my mother once a month, pinching my nose closed while holding a spoonful of foul smelling, foul tasting cod liver oil, with me clamping my jaws shut like a pit bull.
It was a battle of wills as to whether I’d pass out from lack of oxygen, or open my mouth to breathe, only to have mum thrust the disgusting stuff down my throat, telling me “It’s good for you.”
She always won. Yeah, mothers do know best…..sometimes!
Well thankfully those days are gone, because the people at O.N. have packaged their product in enteric coating. This coating is designed so that the contents of the capsule are protected from the acidic environment of the stomach, until it reaches the small intestine which is more alkaline.
This allows for better absorption of the Omega 3 acids into your blood stream. As an added bonus, there is no fishy taste when using them. Just don’t chew on them unless you like that taste!
Each soft gel cap contains 300mg of fish oil, and recommended dosage by the AHA and other authorities is no more than 3g/day.
Most of these bodies agree 1000mg per day is sufficient for a healthy adult. If you’re unsure of the correct dosage for you, check with your doctor before using them.
Optimum supply the soft gels in bottles of 100, 200 and 300 capsules. As usual, the price per dose reduces if you buy the larger size container.
Using the 100 cap bottle at it’s full retail price of $14.99 the cost is $0.15¢ per cap.
Even taking 3 capsule per day, this is very cheap,for something which may not only improve your bodybuilding or weight loss performance, it may save your life!
Possible side effects (Not common)
There are a few possible side effects when using Omega 3 fish oils in higher than recommended doses.
A fishy reflux / burp. (There are odorless / low reflux varieties of fish oil available).
Nose bleeds. (very rare)
Omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil have a “blood thinning” effect. Therefore if you are on blood thinning medication or have a medical history of clotting problems, talk with your doctor before taking fish oil.
Last but not least, if you suffer from fish or seafood allergies fish oil supplements may not be suitable for you. Again talk to your doctor.
Usually, before I give a recommendation, I recap the pros and cons of each supplement.
But for me, this is an easy one to rate. Optimum Nutrition have a long history of manufacturing the highest quality supplements and have picked up many awards along the way.
With all the benefits known and further testing showing more potential benefits of using Omega 3 fish oils, I recommend that, unless a prior health condition prevents it’s use, you should definitely give Optimum Nutrition’s Enteric Coated Fish Oil Soft Gels a try.