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Healthy fats

Omega 3: All you need to know

Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fat that is found naturally in fish. It is most abundant in cold water species such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and herring.

The two most powerful forms of omega 3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA), these are the compounds within omega 3 that deliver omega 3's health and performance benefits.

If, like most people in the UK, you do not eat oily fish on a regular basis it is recommended that you take a fish oil supplement to help fill the gap in your diet. There are two main forms of fish oil supplements, omega 3 and cod liver oil.

Cod liver oil contains much lower concentrations of DHA and EPA, but delivers the added benefit of vitamin A and Vitamin D, whereas Omega 3 supplements contain higher concentrations of EPA and DHA. Our nutrition experts recommend Omega 3 as the best option for sportspeople.

The potential benefits of Omega 3

Omega 3 supplementation is most commonly associated with providing support for the health of the heart as they help to improve blood flow. Omega 3 supplementation has also been linked with improved cognitive function, and most recently it has been suggested that it may have a role to play in aiding recovery from concussion, although evidence is still emerging. It is the omega 3 fatty acid DHA that is suggested to provide the supplements heart and brain health benefits.

Within sport, however, most experts are interested in the fatty acid EPA for the role it plays in reducing inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect may help to reduce soreness suffered after exercise and to reduce the impact on the joints and muscles, improving recovery.

The anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 has also been attributed to improved lung function during and after intense exercise.

How much Omega 3 should I take?

For anyone looking to achieve the inflammatory benefit of omega 3, our nutrition experts recommend two to three of our Omega 3 Pure EPA 1g capsules daily, as this provides 3g of EPA. If you are simply looking to maintain general health, then one High Strength Omega 3 capsule daily, providing 200mg DHA and 300mg EPA should suffice.

When should I take Omega 3?

To aid absorption and minimise reflux it is best to take fish oil supplements with food.

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Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace
medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.