Home / The Science of Nutrient Synergy Blog

The Science of Nutrient Synergy Blog

How to Improve Your Metabolic Health with Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Why Your Metabolic Health Matters

Does your waistline seem to have a mind of its own lately? Have you recently learned that your once normal blood pressure is suddenly creeping up, your blood sugar is on the rise, or your triglycerides are out of whack? If you answered yes – these could all be signs that you are in poor metabolic health and could be on the road to developing Metabolic Syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name given to a cluster of risk factors that increase with age and DOUBLE your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

While you might think you are immune to metabolic health issues, a 2018 study has found that only 12% of American adults are metabolically healthy – that breaks down to one in eight! 

Good metabolic health is defined as the ability to attain and sustain ideal levels of blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference, without the use of medications. 

Metabolic Syndrome: The Breakdown 

Metabolic Syndrome is diagnosed when three of the five following criteria are met: 

  • High Blood Sugar 
  • A Surplus of Fat Around Your Waist 
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) 
  • Increased / High Levels of Triglycerides 
  • Decreased / Low Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (“Good Cholesterol”)

Reversing the Course of Metabolic Syndrome with Omega-3's

The root cause of the metabolic syndrome is insulin resistance, which occurs when cells in your muscles, body fat, and liver ignore signaling from insulin, which usually instructs them to grab glucose out of the bloodstream to use as energy. This results in excess blood sugar (glucose) levels. 

To reverse metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance must be tackled. This is done by normalizing each risk factor one at a time. Losing weight, increasing exercise, cutting carbohydrates, and taking a quality  omega-3 fatty supplement can all help. These lifestyle alterations, together with omega-3 EPA & DHA, work to help your body regulate its blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol. As this occurs, insulin resistance drops, and so does its consequences.

Omega-3s & Regulation of Blood Sugar 

In healthy individuals, insulin production helps keep your blood sugar within a healthy range. However, when there's insulin resistance, the glucose from your blood fails to enter the body cells, resulting in high blood sugar levels. Well, omega-3s can make your body cells more sensitive to insulin, which can lead to more stabilized blood sugar levels. One way they do this is by driving your fat cells to release a hormone called adiponectin into your blood, which increases insulin sensitivity. 

Omega-3s Can Help Reduce Belly Fat

Fat deposits found around the waist, are both a risk factor for and a symptom of metabolic syndrome, and they also contribute directly to insulin resistance. The good news is that omega-3s can help you lose this type of stubborn fat by revving up your metabolism and curbing your appetite. 

Reduce Your Blood Pressure with Omega-3 EPA & DHA

While variability in your blood pressure throughout the day is normal, if your blood pressure stays elevated for an extended amount of time, this is referred to as hypertension. Hypertension can cause damage to your heart and lead to other related health problems. A recent meta-analysis of 70 clinical trials, concluded that overall those consuming omega-3 EPA & DHA show reductions in both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to those taking a placebo. 

Omega-3s Can Lower Your Triglycerides & Increase Good Cholesterol 

Triglycerides and cholesterol are both types of fats found circulating in your bloodstream. Your body burns triglycerides for fuel in between meals, while cholesterol is necessary for proper cellular functioning in your body. These fats in and of themselves are not "bad", but when they are present in excessive amounts, the hardening of the arteries or narrowing of blood vessels can occur. In turn, your risk of heart attacks and stroke increases. 

Luckily, there are several ways to keep these fats in check. In the case of triglycerides, do your best to avoid overeating carbohydrates. To keep 'bad' cholesterol at bay, take steps to reduce your total cholesterol by reducing or eliminating foods that contain either saturated or trans fats. Next, you'll want to take a supplement rich in omega-3 EPA & DHA, like AstaMatrix®.   

Evidence from multiple studies suggests that omega-3 EPA & DHA play roles in lowering triglycerides and raising HDL ("Good") cholesterol in both healthy individuals, as well as those diagnosed with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high triglycerides.

While it is important to note that the direct impact of omega-3 EPA & DHA on LDL (aka "Bad") cholesterol is negligible, their ability to increase HDL indirectly impacts LDL. You see, HDL acts as a scavenger carrying the LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. It is here that LDL is broken down and excreted from the body. Basically, 'good' cholesterol can protect you against the cardiovascular risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome by helping your body rid itself of excess HDL. 

Conclusion - An Ounce of Prevention

As you can see, omega-3 EPA & DHA can help keep your metabolic health in good standing, and prevent you from developing metabolic syndrome. To ensure you are getting all the omega-3s you need, you should consider adding a high-quality omega-3 supplement, like AstaMatrix® to your daily diet and exercise regimen! 

Improve Your Zzzz's With Omega-3's

Improve Your Zzzz's With Omega-3's

While it’s common knowledge that a good night's sleep can help set the foundation for optimal health and wellbeing, it’s not always easy to get enough restful sleep. From chamomile tea and warm milk to melatonin and prescription sleep aids, many of us will do anything to catch better quality Z’s, and rightfully so. Being well-rested not only helps you tackle your day with increased energy and vigor, but reduces stress and inflammation, and improves your memory - who wouldn’t want that?

On the flip side, nights filled with very little or poor quality sleep can leave you feeling lethargic, and negatively influence your mental performance, mood, and even your body weight! 

Thankfully, there are various ways to help increase your chances of getting better quality sleep, including increasing your daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids, like Docosahexaenoic (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Yes, Omega-3 DHA and EPA can help you catch more of that elusive sleep you seek! And, here’s how. 

Omega-3s Increase Vitamin D Levels

Studies show that the quality and quantity of sleep gets compromised more during the winter months because sunlight exposure is limited, and this lowers the level of vitamin D in your body. Adequate vitamin D levels are essential for sleep because the areas of the brain that govern the sleep-wake cycle, including the hypothalamus, contain vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D is needed to bind these receptors (similarly to how a key fits into a lock), in order to trigger a cycle of deep, restful sleep. Thus, vitamin D deficiency can trigger an increase in the risk of sleep disturbances and disorders. 

So where do omega-3s fit into this picture? Well, omega-3s can raise your levels of vitamin D, which in turn, can lead to improvements in both your sleep quality and quantity. Support of this comes from a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine, which showed that people with a good-quality sleep had a higher omega-3 intake compared to people whose omega-3 consumption was low. 

Omega-3s & Melatonin – What You Should Know 

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by a structure in your brain called the pineal gland. This hormone is critical in regulating your circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle. 

A study from the University of Oxford showed that lower ratios of DHA lead to melatonin deficiency and disrupted sleep patterns, while higher levels of DHA caused melatonin to increase.  DHA works its melatonin stimulating magic, by helping create an enzyme that converts serotonin (your “feel good” neurotransmitter) into melatonin. By stimulating melatonin production, DHA can help you get better quality sleep, with fewer nighttime awakenings, as well as a reduced incidence of sleepwalking and other sleep disruptions.

Ward off Insomnia with Omega-3 EPA & DHA

As previously mentioned, its serotonin’s job to make us feel, well, pretty darn good.  When your brain doesn't have enough of this "happy" hormone to be passed from neuron to neuron, depression can ensure, and depression and sleep issues often go hand in hand. Indeed, low levels of serotonin are not only correlated with depression, but with insomnia as well. 

When tackling insomnia, Omega-3 EPA and DHA work together synergistically as a team. Specifically, Omega-3 EPA helps the neurons in your brain release more serotonin into the space between neurons. While its "teammate" DHA augments the receptors on the receiving neuron to be more sensitive to binding serotonin. By bringing serotonin levels back to normal with a quality omega-3 supplement, both depression and insomnia can be tackled at once!  

Omega-3s & Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Studies also tie low levels of omega-3s to a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a condition in which an individual's breathing repeatedly pauses for a few seconds and then restarts during sleep, leading to daytime sleepiness, excessive snoring, and restless sleep. 

In OSA, there’s a heightened inflammatory response, along with malfunction of the part of the brain that controls involuntary functions, including breathing.  However, supplementing with omega-3s may help regulate your inflammatory response and stabilize the blocked airways in OSA, and minimize the sleep disturbances associated with this condition.

Get Better Sleep Starting Tonight

We all have better days when they follow a good night’s sleep. If you are serious about catching better quality Z’s staring now, then be sure to start incorporating some exercise into your daily routine, eat a well-balanced diet, and most importantly, start taking an omega-3 supplement – especially one that contains the synergistic pair of omega-3 EPA and DHA, like AstaMatrix®

Why You Need to Take an Omega-3 Supplement Before Working Out

Why You Need to Take an Omega-3 Supplement Before Working Out

Whether you are an avid Yogi, a bodybuilder, or someone new to the world of fitness, you can benefit from adding an Omega-3 supplement to your health regimen. While these long-chain fatty acids are most famous for their heart, joint, and brain health benefits, what you might not know is that they also accelerate muscle healing and reduce pain after a workout, helping you get the most out of all the hard work you put into being fit!

Fuel Your Body with Omega-3s

When you exercise, your body needs and derives energy from three primary dietary sources: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Carbohydrates are stored in the muscle or liver as a sugar called glycogen and are the body's initial source of energy during any physically grueling task. However, your body quickly runs out of this form of energy and then starts burning fat for fuel.

This is where the role of omega-3 fatty acids comes into play. After these healthy fats reach the cells in your body, they can be used for energy production as free fatty acids in a process called beta-oxidation. This process takes place in the mitochondria, known as the “powerhouse” of your cells.  If you lack these essential fatty acids, it is possible that your muscles will become fatigued faster, especially after an intense workout session.

Cut Time Between Training Sessions with Omega-3s

For you to build muscle, you must first tear it down. After hitting the weights or any other intense strength training program hard, your muscles will sustain tiny microtears. These tears are what are believed to account for the post-workout muscle soreness you feel. Luckily, omega-3 fatty acids can mitigate this muscle soreness because they are potent anti-inflammatory agents that work similarly to the popular non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen and naproxen., without the side effects!

During training sessions, your muscles consume lots of oxygen, and thereby generate molecules called free radicals. These are highly reactive, unstable oxygen molecules that will cause damage to your cells unless they are neutralized by our body’s own internal antioxidant systems. At first, your antioxidant defenses are sufficient to fight free radicals, but a longer, more strenuous workout session will eventually exhaust them. Once this happens, oxidative damage to your muscle cells occurs, leading to fatigue and soreness.

Well, Omega-3s have you covered there too, being as though they are also not just anti-inflammatory nutrients, but potent antioxidants as well.  So, taking them before your workout can help counter free radical damage and thus limit muscle fatigue and soreness. Relief from muscle soreness will result in faster recovery time, which will ultimately allow you to take on your next workout session sooner!  

Omega-3s Help Build Your Muscles

No matter how hard you workout, for you to add lean muscle mass to your body,  your muscle protein synthesis needs to be greater than its protein breakdown (i.e., when the body is in an anabolic state). Evidence suggests that Omega-3 supplementation can augment muscle protein synthesis by regulating specific metabolic pathways. Further, Omega-3s may also slow down the activity of muscle-breakdown proteins, further pumping up your muscles and helping you reach your goal more easily.

Improve Endurance with Omega-3s

During exercise, your muscles need large amounts of oxygen, and Omega-3s help widen the blood vessels so that more blood, oxygen, and nutrients can reach your muscles. The enhanced blood flow will prevent fatigue, thus optimizing your performance! Omega-3s also reduce your peak heart rate as well as the amount of oxygen used up during exercise, thus curtailing your body’s demand for more energy. Fulfilling this energy need can result in greater stamina. And who couldn't use more of that?

Start an Omega-3 Supplement Today

To ensure that you’re getting enough omega-3 fatty acids as part of your workout diet-plan, try taking a high-quality Omega-3 supplement like AstaMatrix®. AstaMatrix® is 100% plant-based and not only supplies you with 500mg of Omega-3 EPA & DHA, but this specialized formulation also has super antioxidants like astaxanthin and a particular type of vitamin E called delta-tocotrienol. These nutrients add an additional layer of protection for and enhancement of your muscle tissue, while they help boost the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of the Omega-3s in the formula synergistically. AstaMatrix® can help you achieve optimal health and take your workout to the next level!