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.