With such a long competitive season, you might be wondering how soccer athletes can maintain their high level of play and health, game after game. The physical demands of soccer athletes are multifaceted and require quick changes in speed, direction, and force production, and there is often muscle damage related to high amounts of eccentric muscle contraction. As the appetite for this high intensity sport continues to grow, so does the science that supports its athletes with all that is required of them.
Optimal nutrition is necessary for any athlete to play at their best and Omega-3s have secured a spot on the podium of essential nutrients for sport. Not only have Omega-3s proven themselves to be essential for both brain and eye health, but their health benefits have been found to translate into advances in athletic performance. The brain is composed mostly of fat and DHA, one type of Omega-3 fatty acid, and quantitatively the most important fatty acid in the brain.
Studies show that supplementation with DHA produces perceptual-motor benefits in elite soccer players by improving complex reaction time and efficiency, refining decision making in high intensity situations. Further data indicates that Omega-3 supplementation in athletes improves peripheral neuromuscular function and aspects of fatigue, which translates to increased performance in players. Research reveals that a higher Omega-3 index (O3I), which can be influenced by Omega-3 intake, may result in the enhancement of brain remodeling after head injury, better supporting brain health for those in contact sports.
Omega-3 supplementation can benefit more than the brain of athletes. Studies show that the addition of Omega-3s to the typical post workout shake can reduce soreness in competitive soccer players to a greater extent than protein and carbohydrate, or carbohydrate shakes alone. These nutrients have been shown to support muscle health by augmenting blood flow, leading to decreased post-exercise muscle soreness, and perceived pain with intense exercise.
It is important to obtain Omega-3s from your diet, as your body is not able to make them. Studies show that 95% of Americans are not consuming enough foods high in Omega-3 to meet their needs, and even fewer athletes do. Brain Armor has created a comprehensive brain health supplement for athletes that is NSF Certified for Sport, so you can be confident that its contents are tested and true. All Brain Armor products are vegan friendly, derived from ultra-pure marine algae, and non-GMO, with no artificial flavors. Brain Armor puts together clinically proven brain nourishing vital nutrients DHA, EPA, Vitamin D and E, and medium chain triglyceride oil in one convenient package to support your structural brain health and cognitive performanceon the pitch, with no fishy aftertaste. Feel confident about your Omega-3 choice with Brain Armor and take your game to the next level.
Stacy Cappadona MS, RD, CSCS received her BS in Exercise Science and MS in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition from Florida State University. She has worked with athletes of all ages, active duty military personnel, and is now serving the communities in Southern Oregon at an all inclusive Wellness Club.