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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!

5 Nutrients You Need For Healthy Joints

5 Nutrients You Need For Healthy Joints

Joint inflammation and all of its uncomfortable symptoms, including swelling, stiffness, and pain can make even everyday tasks seem challenging. According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), nearly 54 million American have some sort of joint inflammation, including Arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the US. Thus, keeping your joint’s healthy and maintaining their mobility, is crucial to the overall quality of your life on many levels!

By nourishing and replenishing your joints with the following nutrients, you will not only be able to keep your joints healthy and protected from future damage but if you already suffer from joint issues, these powerhouse nutrients can prevent the damage from worsening.

1. Vitamin D and Calcium

When speaking of bone or joint health, vitamin D and its copartner mineral, calcium top the list. These micronutrients play a considerable role in joint health and if deficient can contribute to the development of arthritic conditions, especially as you age.

Specifically, vitamin D helps boost the absorption of calcium into your bones, promoting bone growth and repair. It has also shown promise in fighting joint inflammation by reducing the release of inflammatory compounds in your body.

2. Vitamin E

Another joint-friendly nutrient is vitamin E. This potent antioxidant has the potential to fight free radicals, which are chemicals that can cause oxidative damage to the DNA and proteins of the cells that makeup and support your joints. This damage has the potential to both initiate and exacerbate painful joint inflammation. Antioxidants like vitamin E work by scavenging these free radicals, and, in turn, protect your joints. In fact, clinical trials have shown that vitamin E equally curbs inflammation and pain in individuals with osteoarthritis just as well anti-inflammatory medications can!

Supplementing with vitamin E may be necessary because it’s an essential vitamin, which means that your body cannot manufacture it on its own. Thus, to ensure that you are getting enough of this critical antioxidant, you can supplement your diet with products like AstaMatrix®. In fact, in addition to other joint friendly nutrients, AstaMatrix® contains a special botanically-based form of vitamin E called delta-tocotrienol (derived from the annatto seeds), which is superior to its more common form, alpha-tocopherol in its total antioxidant capacity. Additionally, unlike alpha-tocopherol, delta-tocotrienol doesn’t convert into a pro-oxidant (a substance that promotes oxidation).

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Similarly to vitamin E, Omega-3 EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) fats are referred to as essential because your body can’t make them on its own. Thus, to ensure you are getting enough Omega-3s to support your joint health, you should eat several servings of fatty fish a week. However, if eating fish isn’t your thing, then supplementing your diet with a high-quality plant-based omega-3 formula is the best way to meet your daily Omega-3 requirements.

When shopping for a supplement, you want to be sure that you select one that contains both EPA and DHA, because they are both highly coveted for their anti-inflammatory properties. Interestingly, these two essential fatty acids have also been shown to work in tandem with other antioxidant nutrients like vitamin E and others found in the AstaMatrix® to give your joints an additional layer of protection. As a bonus, Omega-3 EPA & DHA also benefit your heart, brain, eyes, skin and other body systems!

4. Natural Astaxanthin

Natural astaxanthin is part of the carotenoid family of nutrients and is an antioxidant powerhouse. In nature, you can find this pigment in orange and red fruits and vegetables, as well as the wild salmon, shrimp, and krill. It has been touted as the "king of the carotenoids" by some and has a thorough body of research supporting its many health benefits. Additionally, unlike many other popular antioxidants astaxanthin never turns pro-oxidant in your body.

So how can this nutrient specifically help your joints? Well, it's not only an antioxidant but a potent anti-inflammatory agent and pain reliever as well. Astaxanthin works similarly to non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), like CELEBREX, ibuprofen, naproxen, and meloxicam, by blocking the enzymes, and proteins that promote inflammation in the joints, but without the side effects! Thus, it represents a powerful weapon against joint disease, especially in those who can’t tolerate the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications.

When choosing an astaxanthin supplement, be sure you are getting natural astaxanthin (it's naturally synthesized from plants like microalgae) and not a synthetic form, as the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are not nearly the same in the latter. 

5. Glucosamine and Chondroitin

A firm, rubbery tissue called cartilage covers and cushions your joints. With repeated wear and tear this cartilage can break down, leading to arthritic conditions and joint swelling, redness, and pain.  

Glucosamine and chondroitin are nutritional supplements that have recently gained momentum as treatment options for osteoarthritis. Research shows that these nutrients not only act as potential protectors of joint cartilage but also as “disease-modifying agents,” meaning that they can alter the course of the disease and prevent the on-going damage to the joint cartilage.

AstaMatrix® Protects Your Joints in Multiple Ways

The nutrients in AstaMatrix® are not only sustainably-sourced exclusively from plants, but this specialized Omega-3 formulation is chocked full of three of the five top nutrients for joint health (omega-3 EPA & DHA, astaxanthin, and delta-tocotrienol). So, start reaping the benefits of this fantastic product today! Your joints will thank you!