In 2023, many gymgoers use supplements to boost energy, increase muscle mass and improve strength. One of the most popular supplements used today is fish oil. It has grown in popularity in recent years and is thought to bring several benefits. In this blog post, we’re taking a look at what fish oil is, fish oil benefits for bodybuilders and daily dosage recommendations. So if you were looking for the answer to the question ‘what is fish oil good for’, then keep reading to find out.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is extracted from the tissue of certain fish that are rich in beneficial oils known as omega-3 fatty acids. It can be derived from tuna, herring, salmon cod liver and blubber from whales and seals (1). Fish oil can be consumed by eating fish or taking fish oil supplements. Keep reading for dosage recommendations and fish oil supplements benefits.
Fish Oil vs Cod Liver Oil: What’s The Difference?
Cod liver oil is another popular supplement that many people take. The main difference between fish oil vs cod liver oil is that cod liver oil is derived only from cod liver, while fish oil is derived from a mixture of different fish. The oils are known to provide similar benefits, however they provide different amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. EPA and DHA.
Daily Dosage Recommendations
If you decide to use fish oil supplementation, the recommended amount for bodybuilders is 2,000–3,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA. However, due to the types of fish and processing methods being used for the supplements, the EPA and DHA contents may vary. Ensure that you read and understand the nutrition label and serving size carefully before consuming.
According to the European Food Safety Authority, EPA and DHA supplements are generally well-tolerated and can be safely taken at combined doses of up to 5,000 mg daily (2).
Fish Oil Benefits for Bodybuilders
Studies have found that fish oil supplementation supports in maintaining muscle strength whilst on a calorie deficit, which may be important during a cutting diet. However, additional research is needed to support this hypothesis (3,4).
The two main benefits of omega-3 fish oil for bodybuilders are aiding in exercise recovery and helping to combat muscle decline, which we will discuss below.
Improvements In Recovery
Fish oil supplementation is extremely popular for gymgoers across the globe due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which can benefit exercise recovery (5).
It is common for people to experience delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) between 12-72 hours following a particularly strenuous gym session. This is when you experience muscle aches and soreness, which could be caused by muscle cell inflammation. DOMS can have a negative impact on exercise performance and motivation (6).
Whilst techniques such as sports massages and foam rolling reduce the impact of DOMS, fish oil can also reduce inflammation after resistance exercise.
Combatting Muscle Decline
As you age, you progressively lose muscle mass. Once you hit ~30 years old your muscle mass declines by around 0.1-0.5% each year, and then at ~65 years old your muscle mass declines further (7). Along with muscle decline, the decreased response to protein intake and resistance training due to age makes it increasingly difficult to maintain and build muscle mass.
Studies have shown that fish oil supplementation, specifically its anti-inflammatory properties, could improve your muscle sensitivity to protein and resistance training. In turn, this will support the maintenance and growth of muscle mass during ageing. However, research is still somewhat limited, so future research is needed (8, 9).
Fish oil is high in omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Overall, it is a relatively safe supplement to consume and the recommended amount of fish oil bodybuilders should take is 2,000–3,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA.
There are several possible benefits of omega 3 fish oil for gymgoers, such as a reduction in DOMS and muscle soreness. This can enhance other health factors, improving your heart and blood health.
If you are a gymgoer interested in making the most of your workouts, get in touch with Exersci today. We sell a wide range of gym equipment and gym accessories designed with your comfort and safety in mind.
- Ghasemi Fard, S., Wang, F., Sinclair, A. J., Elliott, G., & Turchini, G. M. (2019). How does high DHA fish oil affect health? A systematic review of evidence. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 59(11), 1684-1727.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). (2012). Scientific opinion on the tolerable upper intake level of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and docosapentaenoic acid (DPA). EFSA Journal, 10(7), 2815.
- Ochi, E., Yanagimoto, K., Morishima, T., & Tsuchiya, Y. (2019). Eicosapentaenoic acid-rich fish oil supplementation inhibits the decrease in concentric work output and muscle swelling of the elbow flexors. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 38(2), 125-131.
- Ochi, E., Tsuchiya, Y., & Yanagimoto, K. (2017). Effect of eicosapentaenoic acids-rich fish oil supplementation on motor nerve function after eccentric contractions. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14(1), 1-8.
- Hotfiel, T., Freiwald, J., Hoppe, M. W., Lutter, C., Forst, R., Grim, C., ... & Heiss, R. (2018). Advances in delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS): Part I: Pathogenesis and diagnostics. Sportverletzung· Sportschaden, 32(04), 243-250.
- Kargarfard, M., Lam, E. T., Shariat, A., Shaw, I., Shaw, B. S., & Tamrin, S. B. (2016). Efficacy of massage on muscle soreness, perceived recovery, physiological restoration and physical performance in male bodybuilders. Journal of sports sciences, 34(10), 959-965.
- Liguori, I., Russo, G., Aran, L., Bulli, G., Curcio, F., Della-Morte, D., ... & Abete, P. (2018). Sarcopenia: assessment of disease burden and strategies to improve outcomes. Clinical interventions in ageing, 13, 913.
- Smith, G. I., Julliand, S., Reeds, D. N., Sinacore, D. R., Klein, S., & Mittendorfer, B. (2015). Fish oil–derived n− 3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 102(1), 115-122.
- Rodacki, C. L., Rodacki, A. L., Pereira, G., Naliwaiko, K., Coelho, I., Pequito, D., & Fernandes, L. C. (2012). Fish-oil supplementation enhances the effects of strength training in elderly women. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 95(2), 428-436.