Omega 3 is a type of fatty acid, that is essential for the normal growth and development of the body. However, our body is unable to produce Omega 3. Because it is not naturally produced by our body, it has to be obtained exclusively through diet. Today’s most popular diets are typically low in Omega 3. Therefore, the consumption of foods rich in fatty acids, like fish oils, nuts and seeds or by adding Omega 3 supplements to your daily diet, is very important.
For BJJ practitioners and sports lovers, Omega 3 contributes to an increased in energy production, helping to improve performance. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, that help aid in the regeneration process and allows a faster recovery of tissues and organs.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Omega 3 and its benefits for the practice of BJJ, keep reading.
Omega 3 for BJJ
What are Omega 3 fatty acids?
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for the normal functioning of the body. These fatty acids intervene in the production of inflammatory mediators that control the body’s inflammatory response. The balance of these inflammatory mediators affects inflammatory processes and conditions the appearance of allergic, inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases.
There are different types of Omega 3. The two crucial ones, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), come from animal sources and are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which another fatty acid, comes from plant sources, like nuts and seeds. Our body has the ability to convert ALA into EPA and DHA. Fatty acids are essential for our body to function and they also deliver a lot of benefits for our health.
Sources of Omega 3
The best Omega 3 sources are the following:
- Fatty fishes, like salmon, tuna, sardines, lake trout, anchovies, herring, mackerel, etc
- Cod liver oil
- Canola oil
- Flaxseed oil
- Soybean oil
- Walnuts and seeds (ex: flaxseeds and chia seeds)
Omega 3 is also available in a variety of supplements.
Benefits of Omega 3
Omega 3 has multiple health benefits, such as:
The consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids contributes to reducing pro-inflammatory factors and the synthesis of factors that reduce inflammation.
Supports a healthy brain function and enhances cognitive abilities
Omega 3 promotes greater fluidity of cell membranes and increases the effectiveness of communication between nerve cells in the brain (stimulates nerve synapses). It helps to stimulate thinking and it contributes to brain function. The fatty acids EPA and DHA are well known for their important role in brain function, helping to maintain mental concentration and memory.
Reduces triglycerides and helps maintain normal blood pressure
The intake of Omega 3 helps to control blood pressure and to reduce triglyceride levels in the bloodstream. This helps to prevent fat accumulation and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in blood vessels.
Reduces the chance of heart attack and stroke
The consumption of EPA and DHA contributes to blood flow and prevents the formation of clots, minimizing the likelihood of future heart attacks or strokes.
Contributes to cardiovascular health
The cardiovascular system is responsible for the transport of blood and all nutrients to the different tissues of the human body, being a process essential to longevity. Cardiovascular diseases are currently the leading cause of death worldwide, and urgent action is needed to avoid this situation.
Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids that contribute to the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system. These fatty acids can reduce the risk of heart disease and improve blood pressure.
Strengthens the immune system
Omega 3 helps to prevent cell degeneration and the development of some types of cancer: colon, breast and prostate.
Adequate consumption of Omega 3 may also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration (loss of vision) and can help prevent depression.
The consumption of long chain fatty acids is important during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as it helps in the development of the brain, nervous system and the eyes of children.
Accelerates muscle recovery
Omega 3 contributes to the fluidity of blood circulation, improving oxygen delivery to tissues and cells of the body. This factor is especially important for those who exercise because it contributes to an increase in energy production, helping to improve workout performance. This might be the benefit that makes most of you BJJ practitioners start taking Omega 3.
Exercise is understood by the body as an aggression and the recovery process consists of an inflammatory response that the body develops. After resolving the inflammatory process, the regeneration of muscle fibers occurs, and the body adapts itself, increasing its capacity to face similar future aggressions. Because they have anti-inflammatory properties, Omega 3 fatty acids aid in the regeneration process and allow a faster recovery of the tissues and organs.
How much Omega 3 should you take every day?
As we’ve seen, different types of fishes and nuts are rich in Omega 3. For example, eating fish (not fried!) 2/3 times per week can help to reduce bad cholesterol. How? Because you’re eating fish instead of meat (that has saturated fat) and through the supply of Omega 3 fatty acids to the body. Omega 3 supplements are also a good option.
For adults, the recommended dose of Omega 3 is 2-3 grams per day. And, from these fatty acids, at least 400-500 mg per day must come from EPA and DHA.
Obviously, these values change according to your health condition and medicines you might take. That’s why it’s recommended that you go to your doctor, so he/she can advise you on the right dosage and possible side effects.
Possible side effects
The most common side effects are indigestion and gas. Some supplements can also cause your breath to smell like fish. An Omega 3 supplementation with coating can help to fight these symptoms.
It can cause allergic or hypersensitivity reactions to people that are allergic to shellfish or mollusks. More sensible individuals may experience abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Diabetics should monitor their blood glucose levels regularly, as Omega 3 supplement may cause changes in the values.
Do not take in combination with anticoagulant medication, anti-platelet medications or anti-inflammatory painkillers (such as ibuprofen or aspirin). The combination of these substances may increase the risk of bleeding. A high consumption of Omega 3 can cause excessive bleeding in certain people.
Discuss the situation with your doctor as you may need to readjust your usual medication. Do so if you have specific questions about the intake of an Omega 3 supplement. They’ll be the best to evaluate the benefits that it’d bring to your health.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fats. They are necessary for the body to function perfectly. Our body is unable to produce Omega 3, so we can obtain it only through diet. Fatty fishes, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, etc, walnuts, seeds are rich in Omega 3. Also, supplementation has been a practical way to keep the good levels of these fatty acids.
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat, a “good fat”. Unlike saturated and trans fats, it keeps arteries clear, promoting a better functioning of the cardiovascular system and offering protection against heart disease. They’re effective in enhancing recovery and in maintaining a healthy brain.
A BJJ practitioner, just like anyone else, can benefit from the intake of Omega 3. These fatty acids improve oxygen delivery to tissues and body cells, contributing to an increase in energy production. Omega 3 helps in the regeneration process and in a faster recovery of the tissues and organs.
- Creatine for BJJ – Why should you take this supplement?
- How effective is BCAA for BJJ?
- The Best Supplements for Jiu-Jitsu