Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that is a critical component of a healthy diet. As we have explored in previous articles, it is an important dietary piece that contributes to brain development in children and reduces inflammation in children and adults alike. While omega-3’s are well established as a daily dietary component, they are making a debut in another sector of health: muscle recovery. Everyone has experienced tough workouts that leave you sore and uncomfortable for days. These feelings of soreness are caused by muscle microtrauma, which means there is minor breakdown of muscle tissue due to intensive use. It is this microtrauma that causes soreness and can make it feel painful and challenging to use those muscles in any other way during the recovery process. There are the typical methods of reducing soreness after an intensive workout such as: using ice, massages, stretching, and taking anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen. But omega-3 consumption post-workout is making its way to the front of the line in terms of recovery tactics. While it has been known for some time that omega-3 fatty acids aid in reducing muscle soreness, only recently has this dietary strategy become incorporated with other external inflammation reducing methods to help promote a faster muscle recovery.
Athletes of all intensity levels know how important diet choice is when it comes to training and performance. After all, we’ve all probably heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen” a few times. So some studies aimed to put this famous saying to the test and see if dietary components, such as omega-3’s, do heavily influence muscle performance and recovery. One study examined the effects of varying dosages of omega-3 supplementation on male sprinters by having them complete sprints to the point of muscle fatigue and describing their perceived soreness after the intensive workout. The results determined that the men who consumed 6g of omega-3’s per day had better sprinting time results and less perceived muscle soreness than those men who consumed a smaller serving of omega-3’s or none at all (1). Just one single serving of our nutrient-dense Stoneground Superfoods Flax Butter contains 6g of omega-3 fatty acids!
Another study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of omega-3’s this time in muscle disuse as compared to muscle overuse to see if similar results could be achieved. A group of women were gathered and had a leg placed in a cast to ensure the muscle was completely immobilized for two weeks. The study concluded that the women who consumed 5g of omega-3 supplements per day as compared to the placebo lost less lean muscle mass during the immobilization phase and were able to regain the muscle mass that was lost due to atrophy in the trial. Those women who consumed the placebo were unable to achieve the same leg muscle mass as they had initially when the trial began, and overall experienced minor permanent muscle loss (2).
These two studies showcase how critical of a role omega-3 fatty acids play in muscle development. Not only is the nutrient critical in promoting a faster recovery from intensive workouts and overuse, but it is also incredibly effective in preventing muscle decline when muscles are in disuse. The evidence from these studies has made a push to include dietary intervention as a part of well-rounded workout recovery plans, especially when used in conjunction with external recovery methods like icing and stretching. Just a single serving of our plant-based flax butter will provide you with enough daily omega-3’s to help keep your muscles performing in top shape!