In the media we quite often see flaxseed oil mentioned as a suggested supplement. Why is supplementing with this particular oil
beneficial over other oils? Let's take a closer look at this common question we received here at fitFLEX!
You've heard it from fitFLEX nutrition experts before, but we'll say it again: Bodybuilders need to consume "good" fats. Here is a reminder of why you should be paying careful attention to the fats in your diet and, yes there should be fats in your diet.
Scarfing down fries or double-fudge cheesecake is not good for your body, but consuming fat in other forms is important to your overall health and may help improve your physique. Two of the most desirable fats are essential fatty acids (EFAs) called omega-3 and omega-6. Flaxseed oil is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, having roughly six times as much as other good sources, such as soybean oil. Flaxseed oil also has omega-6 fatty acids, and it is fairly inexpensive and easy to find in health-food stores and on the Internet.
According to some of the top experts in the industry, "If you aren't consuming these sources [salmon, flaxseed oil and fish oil] several times a week, chances are very good that you're deficient [in omega-3 fatly acids]." Deficiency can cause all types of problems that you might not even connect to a lack of good fats in your diet, from acne to decreased immune function to slow recovery and growth.
Supplementing with flaxseed oil has abundant benefits for bodybuilders. On the surface, your skin and hair should improve, exhibiting less flaking, dryness and acne. What bodybuilder wouldn't want to show off hard-earned muscles with smooth clear skin? On the inside, benefits include less inflammation after a strenuous workout as well as faster recovery. The omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil also help enhance the release of growth hormone, aiding in the stimulation of optimum growth. The bottom line is if you are training hard to put on muscle, you should be consuming good fats. Flaxseed oil is your best option.
The recommended daily dose is one tablespoon per 100 pounds of bodyweight. Start off slowly, with just one dose per day taken with a meal. Flaxseed oil should he kept refrigerated once opened. Make sure the oil is fresh (it should be date stamped), and buy it in small quantities that you can use within 30-45 days. It is a good idea to take antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, along with flaxseed oil.
Flaxseed does not lend itself to cooking because the beneficial properties are lost if the oil is heated, but there are many ways to incorporate it into your meals. Flaxseed oil has a mild nutty flavor, so instead of downing it like a liquid pill, try the following ideas: Use it as a dressing on salads or warmed vegetables; mix it into your favorite protein shake or juice drink (add it to drinks as the last step before drinking and avoid furious shaking or blending); put it on cold pasta with diced tomatoes, fresh basil and parmesan cheese.
Don't expect obvious overnight results. If you are truly deficient in EFAs, it might take several weeks to six months to see benefits from supplementing with flaxseed oil.