If you're a fitness enthusiast seeking to increase muscle hypertrophy and strength, an omega-3 supplement like fish oils or krill oil might be the answer. Known for their numerous health benefits, new research indicates that fish oils may be able to enhance muscle growth. This article offers an overview of a new study examining fish oil and hypertrophy, dosages, side effects, and a literature review on fish oils and protein synthesis, muscle hypertrophy, and strength gains
Introduction: The Search for the Optimal Fish Oil Supplements Dosage
If you’re a fitness enthusiast seeking to increase muscle hypertrophy and strength, an omega-3 supplement like fish oils or krill oil might be the answer. Known for their numerous health benefits, new research indicates that fish oils may be able to enhance muscle growth. This article offers an overview of a new study examining the optimal fish oil supplements dosage for hypertrophy, side effects, and a literature review on fish oils and protein synthesis, muscle hypertrophy, and strength gains
The Role of Nutrition and Fish Oils in General Health [Based on Research]
Maintaining good health involves a balanced diet, adequate sunshine (i.e., vitamin D), regular exercise, and proper rest, with nutrition and the correct fatty acids playing a significant role in overall well-being. Omega-3 Fatty Acids, like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are found in oily fish such as cod and cod liver oil supplements and grass-fed beef. (Byelashov et al., 2015)
Apart from seafood, other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include brown linseed, walnuts, chia seeds, and omega-3 bio-fortified eggs. Fish oil supplements, rich in essential fatty acids, are derived from oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines, come in various forms, such as capsules, liquids, and gummies. These foods and dietary supplements can be added to the daily diet and provide a beneficial effect on good health and prevent many diseases. (Byelashov et al., 2015)
Fish oils, rich in omega-3 fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), contribute to various health benefits, including heart health, cognitive function, mental health, anti-inflammatory effects, joint health, immune function, and eye health. (Bozbas et al., 2021) The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish per week, or taking a fish oil capsules containing 500 mg of EPA and DHA daily is recommended for general health. However, the optimal fish oil supplements dosage has yet to be throughly studied.
Algae-based Supplements as an Alternative Source of Omega-3
For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or have concerns about the environmental impact of overfishing, algae-based supplements are an excellent alternative to fish oil supplements. Microalgae are the primary producers of EPA and DHA in the marine food chain and can be cultivated in controlled environments, ensuring purity and sustainability. Algae-based supplements have been shown to be effective in raising the omega-3 index and providing health benefits similar to fish oil supplements. (Arterburn et al., 2008)
Absorption and Bioavailability of Different Omega-3 Forms
The absorption and bioavailability of omega-3 fatty acids can vary depending on the form in which they are consumed. Common forms of omega-3 supplements include natural triglycerides, re-esterified triglycerides, ethyl esters, and phospholipids. Studies have shown that re-esterified triglycerides may have superior bioavailability compared to ethyl esters. In contrast, phospholipids, found in krill oil, may have even better absorption due to their compatibility with cell membranes. (Davidson et al., 2012)
Health Benefits of EPA/DHA on Triglycerides and Metabolism
High triglyceride levels in the blood can increase the risk of heart disease. The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, have been proven to positively affect triglyceride levels.
EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids, have numerous health benefits, including lowering triglyceride levels and reducing cardiovascular disease risk. Meta-analyses have found that high triglyceride levels, or hypertriglyceridemia, can lead to increases in LDL and atherosclerosis and increase heart disease and stroke risk. (Innes & Calder, 2018)
The optimal fish oil supplements dosage for triglycerides has been debated. Clinical trials have shown that EPA and DHA can reduce triglyceride levels by 25-30% on average and 20-45% with daily doses of 2-4 grams.(Klingel et al., 2019) These effects result from mechanisms such as reducing triglyceride production in the liver, increasing triglyceride clearance from the blood, and inhibiting enzymes involved in triglyceride synthesis.
Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplements and Protein Synthesis
In addition to the various health benefits of fish oils, a lesser-known characteristic is its ability to enhance protein synthesis.(Kamolrat et al., 2013) A systematic review of the literature suggests that omega-3 supplementation, specifically EPA and DHA, may enhance muscle protein synthesis, muscle hypertrophy, and strength gains in combination with resistance training. (Smith et al., 2011a)
The incorporation of EPA and DHA into cell membranes has been shown to enhance both nutrient and anabolic signaling proteins known to regulate muscle protein synthesis. (McGlory et al., 2014) Moreover, fish oil supplementation resulted in a~ 50% increase in muscle protein synthesis. (Smith et al., 2011b) A study in resistance-trained young men demonstrated that fish oils augmented the anabolic signaling pathways with the addition of resistance training relative to a placebo. (McGlory et al., 2016) This increase in protein synthesis can lead to greater gains in muscle hypertrophy.
Studies Supporting the Benefits of Fish Oils Capsules for Muscle Hypertrophy
Most studies have found that EPA/DHA may increase muscle growth by increasing protein synthesis, reducing inflammation, or enhancing anabolic signaling pathways. Still, few studies directly show that fish oils can increase muscle hypertrophy in healthy adults.
Sarcopenia, the age-related decline in skeletal muscle mass and function, is a significant risk factor for disability and mortality. One study found that dietary fish oil rich in long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids could prevent insulin signaling resistance in skeletal muscle and reduce muscle atrophy during immobilization in rats. (You et al., 2010)
Human Studies on Fish Oil
Human studies have similarly found beneficial effects of consuming an omega-3 fatty acid supplement. In older adults, 6 weeks of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC n-3 PUFA) supplementation (1.86 g EPA and 1.54 g DHA) alongside resistance exercise training significantly increased the cross-sectional area of fast-twitch muscle fibers, despite no changes in whole-body lean body mass. (Brook et al., 2021) Other studies have also found that fish oils may preferentially increase the muscle growth of fast twitch fibers. (Strandberg et al., 2019) The latest study on resistance exercise and fish oils in young trained men is what we have all been waiting for.
New Study on Fish Oil and Hypertrophy and the Optimal Fish Oil Supplements Dosage
The participants had a low intake of fatty fish and did not use anabolic steroids or selective androgen receptor modulators. They were divided into two groups: one group receiving fish oil supplementation (4.5g, 2.275g EPA + 1.575g DHA) and the other receiving safflower oil as a placebo for 10 weeks in conjunction with a resistance exercise program.
The participants underwent resistance training, including barbell back squat, leg press, leg extension/leg curl, barbell bench press, shoulder press, seated cable row, and wide-grip lat pulldown.
The results of the study indicated that while there were no statistically significant differences between the fish oil supplementation group and the placebo group in terms of lean body mass (LBM), fat mass (FM), or body fat percentage (%BF), there were notable trends that favored the fish oil group. Specifically, a trend towards lower %BF and fat mass suggests that fish oil supplementation may have contributed to reduced body fat levels in the fish oil group.
Greater Gains with Fish Oils
Additionally, although not statistically significant, the fish oil group displayed a trend towards greater increases in lean body mass compared to the placebo group. The fish oil group had an average increase of 1.6 kg (3.52 lbs) in lean mass, while the placebo group experienced an average growth of 1.1 kg (2.42).