Can Omega 3 Fats Increase Muscle Mass?

Fish oil is one of the most significant sources of the essential omega-3 fatty acid. It is commonly taken to help with joint, eye, heart, and brain health.

However, it is worth mentioning that bodybuilders and many athletes use omega-3s for their anti-inflammatory benefits. It is also believed to improve range of motion, boost muscle strength, and offer plenty of other benefits.

So, you may be wondering whether or not you should have omega-3 for your workout routine.

Read this article to learn more about whether omega-3 fats can help build your muscles.

What are omega-3 fatty acids?

Omega-3s are a form of polyunsaturated fat. They are considered essential fatty acids because they are suitable for your health and necessary. However, they cannot be made by your body.

The only way you can get them is from your diet.

Your body doesn’t store or use omega-3 fatty acids for energy. Instead, they play vital roles in bodily processes, such as heart health, inflammation, and brain function.

A deficiency in omega-3 may put you at risk for lower intelligence, heart disease, depression, cancer, arthritis, and other health conditions (12).

Where can you get omega-3 fatty acid in its natural form?

One of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids is fish oil. Fish oil is extracted from fatty fish tissues, such as herring, salmon, mackerel, and halibut (3).

Fish oil, fish, and other seafood are high in omega-3 fatty acids.

There are several types of omega-3s. However, the two main types are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommendations, you must eat at least 8 ounces of wild-caught fish every week due to its high fatty acid content (4).

Omega-3s can also be sourced from plant foods like walnuts, flaxseeds, and pine nuts. However, compared to fish, plant foods provide a less-active form of omega-3 fatty acid — alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) (5).

How do omega-3 fats help with bodybuilding?

Omega-3s from fish and fish oil provide tons of benefits for bodybuilders and athletes, mainly due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Here are the main benefits:

1. It reduces soreness of the muscles

Most people feel sore after working out.

I dare say that most people feel soreness and stiffness barely 12–72 hours after an exhausting or unfamiliar workout. This is known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is usually caused by inflammation in your muscle cells (6). Therefore, it hinders motivation and performance at workouts.

While symptoms of this condition may be reduced by massage, omega-3 fatty acids may also help by curtailing damage to the muscle and inflammation after resistance exercise (78).

2. It improves workout quality

Studies have shown that DHA and EPA in fish oil may boost workout performance.


Because they have anti-inflammatory properties, they can reduce or prevent a decline in muscle strength and motion range due to intense exercise.

3. Omega-3s aid muscle health as you age

As you get older, you tend to lose more muscle mass. Studies have shown that muscle mass tends to decline by 0.1–0.5% per year after 30 (9). However, the loss of muscle mass increases dramatically after 65.

It becomes harder to maintain muscle or even build it as you get older, mainly due to a decreased response to protein intake and resistance training (10).

  • The interesting fact, however, is that the anti-inflammatory properties of fish and fish oil may boost the sensitivity of your muscle to protein and resistance training, giving room for more significant gains in the size and strength of your muscle as you get older (11).


There’s plenty of omega-3 fats in fish and fish oil. These fatty acids are beneficial to bodybuilders. They help reduce muscle soreness and reduce the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness. They may also improve range of motion and muscle strength.

It is important to note that fish oil supplements are safe and may boost not only bodybuilding and muscle strength but also other aspects of your health.

What brand of fish oils do you take?

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