Essential fatty acids or shortly known as EFAs are nutrients required for proper brain functioning, nervous system development, mood regulation, metabolism regulation, hemoglobin and hormone production. What are the benefits of essential fatty acids ? EFAs are absolutely necessary for proper body and CNS (central nervous system) development.
In bodybuilding EFAs are used to help the muscle building process, fat burning process and also as joint protection because of the anti inflammatory properties they have. These fatty acids help muscle growth by increasing the levels of testosterone in the body. They also assist in the protein break down process that takes place in the liver.And because they slow down digestion they decrease the amounts of insulin your body requires to keep a steady level of blood glucose.
Essential fatty acids are mainly composed of two fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (Omega- 3) and linoliec acid (Omega-6) that cannot be produced by your body. This means you have to consume them from your diet or supplements.
Some sources of essential fatty acids: (omega 3 and omega 6)
Omega-6 can be found in many foods including nuts, eggs, cereals, and poultry so probably you are getting enough of it if you include these foods in your diet. Supplementation of omega-6 fatty acid should be done cautiously as increased levels of omega-6 in comparison to omega-3 have been known to cause some health problems including depression
Omega-3 fatty acid is found in a narrower variety of sources and often needs to be supplemented. Flax seeds and fish are the most rich sources of alpha-linolenic acid. Some other good sources are avocado, kiwi, and walnuts.
Omega-3 fatty acid contains the two fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are the acids responsible for the health of our cardiovascular system, human growth and intellectual development etc. When we mention omega-3 benefits – these are the fatty acids behind those benefits. .When training hard it’s recommended and usually required to supplement with omega-3 fatty acid.
If you notice that your energy levels and muscle mass decrease and your macro nutrients are in check, chances are you aren’t taking enough essential fatty acids, particularly Omega-3. Supplementing with fish oil or flax oil will probably solve the problem. Once you fulfill the body’s needs for essential fatty acids, you will see improvements in mood, strength and muscle mass for sure.