After years of trying to eliminate fat from our diets, we now know that fat is beneficial to our health and wellbeing. Fats not only serve as a fuel source for our muscles, but also have structural roles within the muscle that can help support greater increases in muscle size and strength.
Learn more about this important macro!
Law 8: Fat is back! 10 Laws Of Muscle-Building
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Supplement With Fish for Greater Gains
Regular consumption of fish oil, which includes two fatty acids called EPA and DHA, can help increase muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in response to a meal.1-3 When you eat a meal that includes protein, MPS goes up due to the anabolic nature of protein.
However, when you supplement with fish oil, the response of protein-elevating MPS is increased even further, helping you get greater muscle gains in a shorter amount of time! This adds to the potential benefits of fish-oil supplementation, which may also help you recover from strenuous exercise more quickly.4
Investing In Your Health
One question I often get asked is, "How much fish oil do I need?" Research suggests you probably need around 2 grams in a 1:1 ratio (1 gram EPA and 1 gram DHA) per day. Unlike some supplements, you won't experience an immediate effect with fish oil after just one dose, so you have to invest over a longer period of time.
Omega-3 fats—the fatty acids found in fish oil—work by integrating into your muscle fibers in the weeks that follow regular consumption.5 The benefits of fish oil supplementation can take up to 6-8 weeks.
Don't Forget About These Fats
When we start talking about fats, we often focus only on omega-3s, but there are additional fats that have tremendous benefits for your body. Omega-9s, which are found in avocado and certain plant oils like olive oil, may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease while phospholipids in milk help build muscle fiber membranes and support brain health.
Fats have a place in your diet regardless of your goal. Whether you're trying to build muscle, lean out your body, or a combination of the two, including the right kinds of fat can help you reach your goals more quickly.
Your Shopping List for Fats
- Canola oil
- Sunflower oil
- Egg yolks
- Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperinsulinaemia-hyperaminoacidaemia in healthy young and middle-aged men and women. Clinical Science, 121(6), 267-278.
- Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(2), 402-412.
- Smith, G. I., Julliand, S., Reeds, D. N., Sinacore, D. R., Klein, S., & Mittendorfer, B. (2015). Fish oil-derived n-3 PUFA therapy increases muscle mass and function in healthy older adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ajcn105833.
- Marques, C. G., Santos, V. C., Levada-Pires, A. C., Jacintho, T. M., Gorjão, R., Pithon-Curi, T. C., & Cury-Boaventura, M. F. (2015). Effects of DHA-rich fish oil supplementation on the lipid profile, markers of muscle damage, and neutrophil function in wheelchair basketball athletes before and after acute exercise. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 40(999), 1-9.
- McGlory, C., Galloway, S. D., Hamilton, D. L., McClintock, C., Breen, L., Dick, J. R., ... & Tipton, K. D. (2014). Temporal changes in human skeletal muscle and blood lipid composition with fish oil supplementation. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids (PLEFA), 90(6), 199-206.