When it comes to CrossFit and living an active lifestyle the question often comes up sooner or later regarding which supplements, if any, should one be taking. With a plethora of options and information that can easily lead to confusion, there is a good need for at least getting the basics right. This would first include a good multivitamin, and second, some sort of form of fish oil or in the case for this article, omega-3 fatty acid.
Why Omega-3 Fatty Acids Are Important
The recent rise in popularity of omega-3 fatty acids is primarily due to research based around heart health and cardiovascular support. These benefits include things such as prevention of plaque build-up, inflammation, and irregular heartbeat. However, omega-3’s also help in increasing brain and eye health, improve hair and skin, and also joint health. Because CrossFit consists of mostly compound (multi-joint) movements, the joints play a critical role when moving heavy loads as well as in overall movement. Therefore, taking a quality amount of omega-3 fatty acids will help keep your joints in good condition as well as aid in your overall health.
Without getting too scientific, there are three types of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA, EPA, and ALA). DHA and EPA are the most important when it comes to getting enough omega-3 fatty acids in ones diet. However, ALA is important if one is getting too much omega-6 fatty acids which can inhibit the effectiveness of DHA and EPA omega-3’s. Over consumption of omega-6’s typically come from poor sources such as cottonseed oil, corn oil, and vegetable oil and lead to inflammation. ALA is primarily found in foods such as leafy greens, chia seeds, eggs, and olive oil.
Do You Need More Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
So, do you need to supplement to get enough omega-3 fatty acids? Because most nutrition professionals recommend 1,000 mg (DHA & EPA) per day, the answer is most likely “Yes” unless you happen to eat two to three servings of wild salmon, sardines, or other similar fish each week. However, this doesn’t mean you should depend on a omega-3 supplement alone. With that, you do get what you pay for. Medium to high grade fish oil isn’t necessarily expensive in comparison to other supplements, but going with the low-end can and often has a lower concentration and less attention to purity.