Supplementing with omega-3 fats DHA + EPA, with a higher ratio of DHA, may increase physical power output and prolong the time before exhaustion (specifically before reaching the lactic acid threshold) according to a new study.
Participants in a recent study of 50 amateur cyclists published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition were given either 975 mg of DHA plus 120 mg of EPA per day or a placebo for a total of 30 days. The cyclists completed two cycling tests – one at the beginning and the other at the end of the study. Before and after, researchers measured ‘ventilatory threshold 2,’ also known as ‘lactate threshold,’ which is the highest output an athlete can sustain for a period of minutes and is restricted by the buildup of lactate, a byproduct of cellular respiration, in the bloodstream. In the second measurement, the test group showed a significant increase in power output and the length of time they could continue the test before becoming exhausted compared to the placebo group.
While this study provides support for short term, high-DHA interventions for sports performance, as a long-term strategy we help individuals who work with us also look to foods for their nutrients. Some of our favorite dietary sources of omega 3s include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, as well as mussels, oysters, clams, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnut, brussels sprouts, and avocados.
Kara Fitzgerald, ND, received her doctor of naturopathic medicine degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She completed the first Counsel on Naturopathic Medicine-accredited post-doctorate position in nutritional biochemistry and laboratory science at Metametrix Clinical Laboratory under the direction of Richard Lord, PhD. Her residency was completed at Progressive Medical Center, a large, integrative medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dr. Fitzgerald is the lead author and editor of Case Studies in Integrative and Functional Medicine and is a contributing author to Laboratory Evaluations for Integrative and Functional Medicine and the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)’s Textbook for Functional Medicine. With the Helfgott Research Institute, Dr. Fitzgerald is actively engaged in clinical research on the DNA methylome using a diet and lifestyle intervention developed in her practice. The first publication from the study focuses on reversal of biological aging and was published 04-12-2021 in the journal Aging. She has published a consumer book titled Younger You as well as a companion cookbook, Better Broths and Healing Tonics and has an application-based Younger You Program, based on the study.
Dr. Fitzgerald is on the faculty at IFM, is an IFM Certified Practitioner and lectures globally on functional medicine. She runs a Functional Nutrition Residency program, and maintains a podcast series, New Frontiers in Functional Medicine and an active blog on her website, www.drkarafitzgerald.com. Her clinical practice is in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
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