Supplement Focus: Omega-3

Fish oil. Fatty acid. Omega-3 goes by different names and has many amazing health benefits. It’s mostly known as a ‘fish oil,’ but usually ‘fish oil’ can contain other things, such as omega-6 and omega-9. The real health, performance, longevity, gut, fat loss, muscle promoting benefits are coming for omega-3 specifically.

Health and Longevity

Omega-3 has been shown to have positive effects (when taken with a probiotic) on gut health, lipid profile (the measurement of fats in blood), and inflammation. Individuals deficient in omega-3 have been shown to have poorer gut health which has been shown to impact, aside from various health markers, neurological development. Omega-3 helps the brain to clear metabolites from the brain aiding in brain homeostasis. Cannabinoids produced in the brain are utilized by omega-3 to prevent inflammation. Omega-3 promotes the release of serotonin, which plays a role in many mood disorders. Blood flow within the brain, to areas most associated with cognition, is greatly enhanced by omega-3. This is great for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.

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Performance

There are also performance and body composition benefits of taking omega-3. Omega-3 has been shown to increase metabolic rates (the rate at which the body burns calories) for both resting and exercise states. Meaning you will burn more calories while you’re working out or not. Omega-3 is also a great aid to building and keeping muscle. This is done via a twofold process. While omega-3 upregulates anabolic pathways that are used to build muscle, it also down regulates catabolic pathways, the ones used to breakdown muscle. AND omega-3 has been shown to slightly aid in insulin resistance.

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Sleeping Like A Baby

Sleep is crucial for recovery from exercise, necessary for many bodily functions to remain optimal, and lack of it is the main cause of poor energy throughout the day as well as many health problems.

Cool Down

Studies have shown that a cooler environment, promotes better quality of sleep. The “magic temperature” seems to be about 70 degrees. Your internal temperature will drop when sleeping, so if your environment is warmer, energy is spent on trying to achieve equilibrium.

Stay away from the light!

No media at least 30 minutes before bed. This is two-fold. TV or checking social media will keep you from falling asleep and lower your quality. It will activate your brain and the blue light emitted from electronic devices signals your brain that it’s time to be awake (more on this in a future post). A total electronics-free period before bed is ideal, but if that doesn’t work with your life then look into blue-light blocking glasses; also apps for your phone and computer to filter out blue light.

Love and peace, man

Get your brain calmed and ready for sleep by reading some nonfiction. Also try journaling or some meditation. Try a “grateful log” or something similar. Five minutes or so of journaling is a great way to end and start the day (more on that in a future post).

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Other Random Bits

A study found that in young, healthy men reducing sleep to 5 hours a night resulted in up to a 15% drop in testosterone.

Prebiotics help sleep quality and reduce the effects of stress. REM sleep is improved as well as non-rem sleep after a stressful event. goo.gl/nMLpNL

Diet can help to promote better quality of sleep. Specifically, foods that produce or increase the availability of serotonin, melotonin, and tryptophan. goo.gl/mPSXY8

Longer sleep is associated with better body composition, specifically lower BMI. Shorter sleep periods are associated with “greater adiposity (body fat), lower HDL cholesterol and a tendency to impaired glucose metabolism.” goo.gl/mNMmLD

Higher levels of omega-3 is associated with higher quality of sleep. goo.gl/5QF3Rc

(I have a lot of positive things to say about omega-3, but that will be for another post.)