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DHA for Athletes – Athletic Performance, DHA and the Brain Connection

DHA for Athletes – The Benefits

The essential omega 3 fatty acid DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid) has been a topic of great interest lately in the athletic and sports nutrition community because of its astounding ability to support athletic performance in several different ways.

Multiple studies have shown that DHA can help improve reaction time, support muscle mass, improve recovery time after physical exertion or injury, and can also support a healthy inflammatory response. (1)

This essential fatty acid’s ability to support human health from a multitude of different angles has garnered many athletes and trainers lately.

DHA can help improve reaction time, support muscle mass, improve recovery time

DHA is an Essential Fatty Acid

Which means that it must be consumed in the diet. Typical dietary sources are from fish, but there is an even more direct source that will be discussed below.

DHA is Crucial for Development

DHA is crucial for the proper development of us humans and is especially important for the brain and nervous system. This is due in part to DHA being vital and present in every cell in the human body!

An Important Omega 3 Fatty Acid

This omega 3 fatty acid is also an integral building block for several other key systems of the human body, including developing both mitochondria and sperm, the eyes and nervous system.

This makes DHA one of the most crucial and important nutrients that we can get, because it has a direct role in the function of every cell. It is also important because it plays a role in developing healthy new cells.

An Important Lipid

This omega-3 fatty acid is an important lipid in human nutrition, and is deemed for its requirements in daily cognitive behavior and function, vision, development and muscular health.

Where Does DHA Accumulate

DHA accumulates in the greatest concentrations in the eyes and brain. In fact, over 90% of omega-3 fatty acids in the brain are DHA and 93% of those fatty acids in the retina of the eye are DHA!

Because the brain is 60% fat, it is easy to see how critical it is to maintain sufficient levels of DHA–not only for daily functioning, but also for peak performance. (2)

DHA and the Brain in Athletic Performance

DHA is a nutrient that is important for the integrity of the brain and nervous system. It is crucial for cognitive function, and it plays an important role in maintaining normal brain development during childhood and into adulthood.

What is interesting is that while DHA is especially important for developing babies in the womb and young children, it maintains its importance throughout our entire adult lives.

The Research Behind DHA

In recent years, there has been a lot of research conducted on DHA and the brain. There have been studies showing that DHA can play a role in supporting memory, learning abilities, and overall brain health.

For athletes worldwide, these are all areas of focus to perform optimally and competitively at the highest level in their sport.

DHA has interesting and impressive effects on neurotransmitter activity as well as how information is signaled and processed within the brain. It is through these neurotransmitter pathways that we see the relationship between DHA and improved reaction times and motor skills. (3)

DHA has interesting and impressive effects on neurotransmitter activity as well as how information is signaled and processed within the brain.

DHA Studies and Amounts For Athletes

A recent study showed that 95% of NCAA Division I college athletes are not meeting the recommended amount of 500 mg DHA per day. (4) The study reviewed athletes in 34 different sports and showed that none (0%) of the athletes who completed the omega-3 Index % test, including those who consumed fish two or more times weekly, met the goal of 8-12%.

What is interesting is that the average Division I athlete has an omega-3 index of 4 to 4.5%. This percentage poses a large issue for not only the general population, but especially for high performance athletes. The International Olympic Conference (IOC) states that an athlete can need up to 2000 mg of DHA per day, which is not being met by most athletes. (5)

DHA and Muscle Recovery

Did you know that more than just protein is required by your body to rebuild and maintain healthy and strong muscles?

DHA is involved in many important pathways and functions within the body, but a growing body of research also suggests that this essential omega 3 fatty acid can help support muscle mass and decrease recovery time, specifically for athletes.

One study in particular measured recovery time of athletes who were using DHA as opposed to not supplementing with DHA.

The findings show that their recovery time was noticeably decreased between sets of physical activity for those who supplemented DHA, and the recovery time for those who did not use DHA in the study were longer. (6)

Recovery time was noticeably decreased between sets of physical activity for those who supplemented DHA, and the recovery time for those who did not use DHA.

It is thought that much of the benefits to supplementing DHA for athletes comes in the form of its ability to support a healthy inflammatory response.

This leads to a reduction in what is called delayed onset muscle soreness and stiffness, which comes after strenuous exercise or exertion. This means that athletes can then increase the frequency that they train, workout and perform.

The Best Source for DHA

Did you know that the omega 3 fatty acid’s DHA and EPA do not actually come from fish and fish oil?

The original source for these essential fatty acids is a specific type of algae rather than fish, as the fish must consume the algae in order for them to get these important and necessary fatty acids.

This means that the fish becomes the “middle man” for these nutrients, and can be bypassed entirely. This also means that we can bypass the consumption of heavy metals, pesticides and plastic pollutants that often come with fish and fish oil products.

We Source From Only the Best

Ascent Nutrition has gone directly to nature’s pure and original source for these essential fatty acids of DHA and EPA.

We use a unique water extraction method to gently separate the DHA, EPA and several other fatty acids from the algae, which delivers a one of a kind and pure Algae Oil DHA that is friendly to all diet types (vegan, vegetarian, carnivore, paleo, etc.) and more cost effective per amount of DHA than leading fish oils and more cost effective than all other algae oil omega 3 products on the market.

Each serving of our Algae Oil DHA delivers 1,000mg of DHA, and even boasts an array of other minor fatty acids that are beneficial to human health.

Get yours today while supplies last, shop Algae Oil DHA.

Wrapping Up

To conclude, DHA is a necessary nutrient for human health and can be especially beneficial for athletes and athletic performance.

This essential fatty acid is directly involved with proper brain and muscle development, and is a crucial nutrient for every cell in the body.

The true source for DHA and other omega 3 fatty acids is actually not fish, but algae. Fish then must consume algae to obtain these fatty acids, meaning that the harvesting and potentially harsh extraction of fish oil from fish is not needed to obtain this crucial nutrient.
Ascent Nutrition offers a unique water extracted Algae Oil DHA that supplies 1,000mg of pure and clean DHA per serving, along with EPA and several other crucial fatty acids.

Resources

(1) https://omegaquant.com/omega-3s-hit-the-mark-again-in-exercise-performance-recovery/
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4772061/
(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3792211/
(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190167/
(5) https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/ijsnem/28/2/article-p104.xml
(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7468920/

Authored by Lance Schuttler

Having graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Health Science and as the CEO of Ascent Nutrition, Lance brings deep experience within the health and wellness fields, as well as a well rounded perspective of the nutraceutical industry.

To learn more about Lance and the team behind GoAscent please visit the About Us page

Or visit https://lanceschuttler.com/