Omega - 3 Update
Fitness Rx for Women|August 2016

For many years, the fats in our diets were vilified. The politics and misguided policies of the ‘80s resulted in a fat-free fad where all of the palatable fats in our foods were replaced by sugars.

Victor R. Prisk

We are now realizing the political and economic follies of our ways. There’s a crisis of the metabolic syndrome that includes obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and insulin resistance that now drains our medical systems and tax dollars.

Unfortunately, sports nutritionists still believe that carbohydrates are the driving force behind athletic performance. As a result, the essential nutrients that can really boost our performance are treated with benign neglect by the nutrition policymakers and demonized by the media. The reality is that the essential amino acids from protein and the essential fats are critical to our well-being and lean muscle potential.

All macronutrients are not created equal by their calorie content. The branchedchain amino acid leucine is a special “anti-kryptonite” that fights the damaging effects of sugar on our performance, thus making leucine-rich proteins more valuable in fitness.5 This month, I would like to point out that among the fats, all fats are not created equal.

It is clear that the omega-3 fatty acids are especially important in our health. Initial interest in the cardiovascular benefits of fish oils was incited by the finding that Eskimos and other populations that consume diets rich in these fatty acids have extraordinarily low incidences of cardiovascular diseases. The effects of these fatty acids appear to be on many different physiological processes, including a reduction of inflammation, improved blood flow, positive changes in lipid metabolism and the list goes on.

Fish Oils for Fat Burning

Over the past 30 years, there’s been significant interest in the therapeutic potential of fish oils for a variety of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases and asthma in humans. Fish oil, rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), exerts antiinflammatory and immune-modulatory effects, making them useful as a nutritional combatant to exercise-induced inflammation and immune suppression resulting from intense training. The long-chain omega-3 PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in fish oil appear to have additional anti-inflammatory properties, primarily through their effects on the neutrophil and macrophage constituents of the inflammatory response. These are white blood cells that attack infections and help rebuild tissues.

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