Saturday, July 30, 2011

TRAIN TO GAIN : Fishy Fat-Burning Effects by Jerry Brainum

Several studies have shown that taking omega-3 fatty acids, especially fish oil supplements, increases the rate of fat oxidation. Since the only form of exercise known to do that is aerobics, what would happen if you combined fish oil with aerobics?

A study presented at the 2006 American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) meeting looked at the effects of combining aerobic exercise with fish oil supplementation on the size of lipoprotein particles in the blood. Low-density and high-density lipoproteins consist of protein combined with cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol to cells in the blood and, when oxidized, is considered a root cause of cardiovascular disease. HDL carries cholesterol out of the blood to the liver, where the excess cholesterol is degraded into bile and eventually excreted. The reverse transport of cholesterol, as it’s called, is the only way the body can rid itself of excess cholesterol.

In addition to its cholesterol-clearing ability, HDL helps prevent the oxidation of LDL by providing a potent built-in antioxidant called peroxanase. In recent years scientists have realized that the size of the various lipoprotein particles in the blood is highly significant. Small, dense LDL particles are considered far more dangerous than larger, more buoyant ones. LDL is more prone to oxidation, which turns it deadly from a cardiovascular-disease perspective. Similarly, some forms of HDL are more protective than others. Alcohol intake increases one type of HDL, while exercise raises another. The type increased by exercise is considered more protective than that increased by alcohol.

In the new study 11 active men, average age 30, performed four randomized trials: 1) rest with no supplement, 2) exercise with no supplement, 3) rest and supplement, 4) exercise and supplement.

The subjects did three days of treadmill exercise at a moderate-intensity level of 70 percent maximum oxygen intake for 60 minutes, with the rest consisting of three consecutive days of no exercise. The supplement used was fish oil, taken at a dose of 4.55 grams a day for 42 days.

The exercise promoted a significant increase in the size of LDL particles in the blood but not in HDL size. Adding fish oil to the exercise produced a shift in HDL distribution to the more protective form. Thus, omega-3 fatty acids appear to work with exercise to lower risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. 

Wooten, J.S., et al. (2006). Response of lipoprotein diameters and distributions following aerobic exercise and omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 38:S46.

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