Omega-3 (fish oil) benefits in bodybuilding and fitness [infographic]

What are the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids in bodybuilding and fitness? Why do so many athletes implement omega-3 in the diet? Check out studies, video’s and infographics below and get started with implementing fish oil in your diet.

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It is known by many bodybuilders and athletes that omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can help you gain muscle, lose belly fat and prevent injuries.

We will show you the Benefits of Omega-3 Fish oil in Bodybuilding, provide your related articles and show how easy it is to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids through your diet. Luckily, it’s very easy.

In this article

Omega-3 fish oil benefits in Muscle Gain

Studies have shown that when our body gets a sufficient amount of omega-3 fish oil, we can gain more muscle. Researchers theorize that this is the effect of nutrient partitioning. In other words; calories that might originally be stored as fat can be partitioned into muscle.

According to the formula for muscle growth is the rate of synthesis minus the rate of degradation. It just happens that the DHA and EPA in omega-3 fish oil increase synthesis and decrease degradation. Great, right? We are just getting started.

In one study carried out by Washington University, 9 healthy men and women took 4,000mg of Omega-3 fish oil for eight weeks. Omega-3 was shown to increase their muscle building response to both insulin and amino acids. Having a high amount of Omega-3 in the muscle seemed to prime it for protein synthesis, making it more able to build and maintain muscle.

Another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, involved 60 healthy men and women aged between 60 and 85. They were randomly assigned to take either 4,000mg of Omega-3 fish oil per day or a placebo made of corn oil. After 6 months, those receiving the Omega-3 supplement had increased thigh muscle volume and handgrip strength.

[Video] How Omega 3 Helps Build Muscle: Increase Protein Synthesis by Thomas DeLauer

Video references:

1. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperaminoacidemia-hyperinsulinemia in healthy young middle aged men and women. Source.

2. Dietary supplementation with a specific combination of high protein, leucine, and fish oil improves muscle function and daily activity in tumour-bearing cachectic mice. Source.

3. Effect of intravenous omega-5 and omega-3 fat emulsions on nitrogen retention and protein kinetics in burned rats. Source.

4. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Source.

5. Enteral nutrition enriched with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) preserves lean body mass following esophageal cancer surgery: results of a double-blinded randomized controlled trial. Source.

6. The effects of ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men. Source

Omega-3 Fish Oil can help reduce belly fat

T-nation also wrote an article about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) in bodybuilding and fitness. One study done by the Nutritional Physiology Research Group in Australia showed that the essential omega-3 fatty acids combined with exercise provides significantly greater fat loss benefits than exercise or using omega-3 fish oil alone. The best benefit is that fat loss occurs in the abdominal region. This has been tested on real people.

Omega-3 fatty acids can increase insulin sensitivity, which leads to less fat storage and more fat release. These are just a few examples of how omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) can help you lose fat. Check out the article on T-nation for the full view.

Bodybuilder Layne Norton (has a PHD in nutritional sciences) wrote an article on, he says: “EPA and DHA have been suggested to support insulin function and increase glucose and fatty acid uptake into muscle cells. This may help partition nutrients toward muscle and away from fat, improving overall body composition and providing more fuel to the muscle during workouts.”

Studies appear to support this. According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, healthy adults who took 3,000mg of fish oil per day for 12 weeks saw their metabolic rate increased by an average of 5.3%, meaning they burned more calories even when at rest.

Fish oil is good for your joints

There is one big obstacle bodybuilders and athletes are facing. Preventing injuries and keeping great overall health for the best performance. Besides the vast amount of benefits, omega-3 fish oil has proven to reduce the stiffness in your joints, improve your blood flow and enhance your recovery.

How to eat more Omega-3 fatty acids

Many major health organizations recommend eating fish at least twice a week. If you are serious about your training program it shouldn’t be too difficult to eat fish twice a week, since they are also high in protein and should already be on your list!

How to get enough Omega-3 Fatty acids in your diet as a Vegan

If you are a Vegan (or had testing for food sensitivity and are unable to eat fish), it’s more difficult to get enough Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet because the highest volumes come from fatty fish. Here’s a list of vegan alternatives to get some Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, but if you would like to get the full benefits, you might want to consider supplementing. Luckily, there are also Vegan Omega-3 supplements.

Top Vegan Omega-3 fatty acids sources

1. Seaweed and algae

Seaweed and algae are important sources of omega-3 for people on a vegetarian or vegan diet, as they are one of the few plant groups that contain DHA and EPA.

2. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent plant-based source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids. They are also high in fiber and protein. Chia seeds contain 5.055 g of ALA per 1-oz serving.

3. Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain 2.605 g of ALA in every 3 tablespoons (tbsp).

They are also rich in many nutrients, including:

  • protein
  • magnesium
  • iron
  • zinc

4. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain 6.703 g of ALA per tbsp.

Flaxseeds are one of the most healthful seeds that people can eat. They are rich in many nutrients, including:

  • fiber
  • protein
  • magnesium
  • manganese

5. Fatty nuts

You can also add some fatty nuts, like Walnuts, to your diet to get more Omega-3 and protein. Be aware that nuts are also high in calories, so consume them with moderation.

Omega-3 fish oil benefits in Bodybuilding and Fitness [Infographic]

omega-3 benefits in bodybuilding and fitness


Any information provided by GlobalOwls, or representatives of, is for educational purposes and should not replace medical advice. We cannot diagnose or treat any medical condition. Always consult a doctor or other medical practitioner before implementing any changes. If you are on prescriptive medication you should check with your GP before commencing any supplement program as these may be contraindicated with some medications.

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