If you are physically active, you know that the harder you train and play, the more fuel and essential nutrients your body needs. Whether you’re a weekend sports enthusiast or a competitive athlete, good nutrition is vital for both optimal performance and staying healthy.
For athletes, getting sufficient amounts of omega-3 fats, such as EPA and DHA, is of particular importance because of their multiple health benefits.
Be Better Prepared with Omega-3s
Omega-3 fats are special fat nutrients that perform unique functions throughout the body. As metabolically active compounds, they help manage heart rate, circulation, oxygen use and breathing, muscle contraction, and body temperature. They also promote strong cardiovascular health and lean body mass. [1,2,3]
Being proactive is key. EPA and DHA must be in the tissues before exercise begins for maximum benefit. It takes weeks, not hours or days, to increase omega-3 levels in tissues. This means sufficient amounts of omega-3s must be consumed regularly. Increasing your intake of fish or supplementing with concentrated omega-3 from fish oil will prepare you for great performance and optimal recovery.
In professional athletes, EPA and DHA have been shown to: [4,5,6,7,8]
- Support heart health and healthy heart rate
- Promote robust circulation and oxygen utilization
- Promote healthy joints and flexibility
- Support healthy lung function
- Improve muscle strength and bone density
Easy your recovery with Omega-3s
Physical and mental recovery is part of maintaining your game. As essential fat nutrients that work in muscles, bones, lungs, eyes, nerves, circulation, and your heart and mind, scientists have identified that EPA and DHA omega-3s help restore tissue health, muscle recovery, support healthy immune response, and help maintain strength as you age. [1,3,9,10]
Athletes can prepare for optimal performance and better recovery with regular consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3s. Experts recommend a daily intake of 1-2 grams of EPA and DHA, with more EPA than DHA, for the athlete. 
Plan your nutritional win. How will you incorporate the amount of EPA and DHA omega-3 your body needs to support your athletic goals?
Example: If your aim is to consume 2 grams (or 2,000 mg) of EPA and DHA per day, you can consume every day:
- 2 fish oil capsules containing 1,000 mg EPA & DHA
- 8 fish oil capsules containing 250 mg EPA & DHA
- 1 teaspoon of concentrated fish oil liquid
- 4-6 ounces of Wild Alaskan salmon
- 6-8 ounces of canned sardines
- 2 pounds of tilapia
Concentrated fish oil is a more convenient and efficient way to consume higher amounts of omega-3 for many athletes. A healthful diet and adequate fluid intake is important for those engaged in physical activity, and evidence suggests that both the weekend sports enthusiast and the trained competitive athlete will improve their performance by including EPA and DHA omega-3 in their daily regimen.
Gretchen Vannice, MS, RDN
Head of Global Nutrition Education
Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
References: Calder PC et al. Br J Sports Med 2010;44:1065-1067.  Huffman DM et al. J Exercise Physiology 2004;7:48-56.  Simopoulos AP. Curr Sports Med Reports 2007;6:230-236.  Buckley JD et al. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2005;14:S57.  Peoples GE et al. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2008;52:540-547.  Tartibian B et al. J Science & Med in Sport 2010;13:281-286.  Mickleborough TD et al. Chest 2006;129(1):39-49.  Mickleborough TD et al. Am J Resp & Clin Care Med 2003;168:1181-1189.  Serhan CN et al. Annu Rev Pathol 2008;3:279-312.  Smith GI et al. Am J Clin Nutr doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.105833  Farzaneh-Far R et al. J Am Medical Assoc 2010;303:250-257.