Scent of the Sea: Fish oil and Vitamin A
One of the most important building materials we can take when growing up or during adulthood when we want to keep our muscles healthy and our bones strong, is fish oil. You may be wondering why fish, in particular, are very healthy for us – providing unbeatable benefits from Omega-3 and that vital fish liver contribution, Vitamin A.
The value of Omega-3
So fish, the essence of fish and the fishiness of fish are closely entwined with our most ancient physiological and physical structures and development. Omega-3 impacts on the most vital areas of our health:
Fish oil has not been shown to directly support muscle development in the same way that protein does, but what it does do is help to slow down muscle proteolysis – a process which breaks down muscle proteins instead harnessing them. For bodybuilders, this is important because proteins are the building blocks of life and very necessary for both growth and repair of muscle tissue. As protein is the single most important nutrient that builds and maintains muscles, it is vital to ensure optimum effect through minimum breakdown – and fish oil can contribute positively to this goal.
While fish oil alone has not been shown to reduce heart disease itself, the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help reduce levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream, therefore helping to lower the risk of heart attack and slow the onset of atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries.
Omega-3’s can certainly improve your bone health. Balancing essential fatty acids in the body helps to prevent abnormalities in bone growth and/or mineralization. Essential fatty acids are defined as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) or linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Various conditions such as osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, severe food allergies, Lyme disease or various autoimmune conditions – can directly interfere with bone growth and repair.
According to the British Journal of Nutrition, one of the Omega-3’s fats, DHA, is a valuable constituent of marrow and enhances bone mineral content. On the other hand, NASA scientists have found that one of the other Omega-3’s fats, EPA, may protect against bone loss during space flights. This is good to know as you can never be sure when you might have to pop into space for any length of time.
To get the best benefits for a healthy, happy brain you need plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil has been shown to be conducive to keeping the brain functioning at its best, as well as creating healthy brain cells. Omega-3’s are an integral structural component of brain cell membranes and nerve cells.
Omega-3’s ability to provide an anti-inflammatory function for the brain is very important. Brain inflammation contributes to depression, anxiety, brain fog, and ADHD and even serious degenerative disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Omega-3’s are impressive in their ability to reduce this inflammation and improve brain functioning across mood, memory, cognition, and mental well-being.
Omega-3 fatty acids can exert substantial triglyceride reduction – that is they can reduce the bad cholesterol which can lead to heart disease, cancer and arthritis, amongst others. Studies of people living in the Mediterranean have shown that their diet, which includes foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil and garlic – all rich in Omega-3’s – is definitely effective in reducing the number of heart disease victims against the density of the population. Moderate wine consumption may also have something to do with this.
Vitamin A – or Retinol – is essential for supporting skin, healthy bone growth, healthy lungs, eyes, nose and throat, and your general immune system. As an antioxidant, Vitamin A helps skin to repair, stay moist, and produce the enzymes that stabilise the production of collagen. Vitamin A is mostly obtained from cod liver oil which is an excellent source of both Vitamin A and Vitamin D. It’s also found in dairy products, fresh meat and liver.
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