Enhance Your Workout with Omega 3, Rhodiola, and L Theanine

14 June 2019
Connie Packer

Weight Training

Has anyone else felt the punch in the gut when your genetic profile report tells you “your genetic muscle composition is uncommon in elite power athletes”? Well, to be honest, it wasn’t actually a surprise to me. I just didn’t like to have it pointed out. I enjoy my yoga, dancing, and backyard games, and my flexibility is a point of pride. The report also pointed out that it doesn’t mean I’m doomed. I’ll just have to work longer and harder for those physical gains. Maybe working smarter will help too.

Omega 3 EPA and DHA may decrease muscle fiber damage from exercise. Supplementation of eicosapentaenoic acid-rich fish oil attenuates muscle stiffness after eccentric contractions of human elbow flexors. Eccentric contractions are known to be followed by inflammation and muscle stiffness, presumably because of IL6 production and cell membrane damage. This study recruited 16 men with no resistance training. Participants took a placebo or fish oil supplement totaling 600 mg EPA and 260 mg DHA every day for 8 weeks before the intense elbow flexor exercise, and continued for 5 days after. Measurements were taken immediately before, immediately after, and 1, 2, and 5 days after performing the elbow flexor exercise. Although this amount of EPA and DHA is not a high dose, it was enough to significantly raise blood levels of EPA and DHA. The fish oil group did not experience the same degree of muscle strength loss or reduced range of motion as the placebo group. The fish oil group also experienced less muscle swelling, soreness, and stiffness. The researchers concluded that the EPA and DHA supplement delayed the inflammatory response and muscle soreness by preventing muscle fiber damage.

Rhodiola may enhance anaerobic activity. Effects of short-term Rhodiola Rosea (Golden Root Extract) supplementation on anaerobic exercise performance. Rhodiola is often described as an “adaptogen” that may help the body avoid damage from oxidative, physiological, and psychological stress. It is also known for increasing ATP production in mitochondria, which can be used to resynthesize phosphocreatine during anaerobic exercise. Eleven physically active females aged 18-24 were recruited to participate. Participants took a placebo or 500 mg Rhodiola (3% total Rosavins and 1% total Salidroside) for 3 days, and then completed an anaerobic exercise test. After a 1-week washout period, they repeated supplementation with the other pill (placebo or Rhodiola), and completed the exercise test again. The exercise test was a Wingate anaerobic test, where participants cycled as fast as they could with a resistance based on their body weight, for 15 seconds followed by a 2-minute cool-down period of cycling. This was repeated 3 times. The test taken after Rhodiola supplementation showed greater watts, greater anaerobic capacity, greater anaerobic power, greater peak watts, and more total work. All of this was observed without a difference in the fatigue index. Researchers couldn’t speak to the mechanism of action that caused the improvements, whether it was psychological stimulation or physiological protection, but it will be interesting to see where the research on Rhodiola goes.

L-Theanine may enhance immune function after strenuous exercise. The effect of L-theanine supplementation on the immune system of athletes exposed to strenuous physical exercise. It has been shown that strenuous physical exercise can suppress the immune system and make athletes more susceptible to infection and inflammation. This study involved 20 men on the Polish Rowing Team who were willing to stop all medications and supplements starting two weeks before the study. The participants completed a 2000-m row on a rowing machine as fast as they could at baseline and again after 6 weeks of taking a placebo or 300 mg L-Theanine daily. Blood samples were taken to measure immune factors before the test, 1 minute after the test, and 24 hours later. There were some differences in immune-related factors. One factor of significance is that the supplemented group had a decrease in IL-10, a factor that improves immunity, 24 hours after the exercise. This suggests that the immune system was setup to be more protective in the athletes who had been taking the L-Theanine.

Editor Note

Thrivous provides excellent sources of Omega 3, Rhodiola, and L Theanine. Omega Cardioprotector contains 500 mg of Omega 3 EPA & DHA per serving, along with other nutrients to enhance heart and circulation function for better aging. Clarity Daily Nootropic contains 300 mg of Rhodiola per serving, along with other nutrients to enhance brain function, memory, focus, and mood. And both Serenity Nightly Nootropic and Surge Acute Nootropic contain 200 mg of L Theanine per serving, combined with other nutrients, respectively, to enhance sleep and to enhance productive energy.

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