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Are Omega 3 supplements effective in helping muscle recovery after a workout?

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Posted on Sat, 27 Sep 2014
Question: Hello!
I was wondering if Omega 3 supplements could help with muscle recovery after a workout? I have small glands so my muscles (painfully!) tend to swell up after exercise, more so than normal. As I have one kidney, I'd rather not have to take any medications that could harm it. A doctor told me to try tramadol for the pain and swelling, but I had side effects and was sick until it wore off. Can omega 3 supplements or any lifestyle changes ease this muscle swelling/pain?
Thank you!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman (34 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Not a bit on omega 3.

Detailed Answer:
Heck, they seriously might make it worse.
Ok, the first thing to realize is that you're female. There are limits to muscle bulking that you can get. Heck, there's even more limits on the amount of muscle bulking you'd WANT to get!
The stimulus of muscle bulking is all the things that make them hurt (such forceful exercise that the muscles are starved for oxygen and fuel, production of acids like lactate, or .. the physical ripping of them). Some of the inflammatory mediators are breakdown products of lipids that are very like omega 3 (production of prostaglandins). While this can be inhibited by aspirin like drugs and while inhibition of them with aspirin like drugs produce more muscle bulking in males, Why Even Go There?
Don't do exercises that produce that much pain, the gain you get from it is irrelevant to you!
Endurance exercise is best for fitness. Do cardio. Do it gradually with increases in duration and intensity and rest for 2-3 days if there is significant pain and restart at a lower level.
Toning muscle requires no pain, just moderate reps at about 50% of maximal amt you can lift 2 x a day daily for about 2 weeks.
Sadly, your doctor was quite right in tramadol. Tylenol is also SAFE, BUT aspirin like anti-inflammatories can really damage the kidney and cannot be considered necessarily safe even in over the counter strengths.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
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Follow up: Dr. Matt Wachsman (30 minutes later)
Hi again!
I probably should've been more specific - I'm not trying to bulk up - the exercise I do is dance, so I don't do crazy weight lifting or anything too hardcore. Most of what I do is cardio and yoga type strength building, moderately intense. I've heard calcium can help eas the muscle aches and swelling - would it be a bad idea to try this? I'm pretty desperate to ease the swelling and pain because I love dance and hate skipping a few days to recover.
Thank you again!e
doctor
Answered by Dr. Matt Wachsman (26 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, chondroitin and glucosamine
AND water !

Detailed Answer:
You Have No Idea how helpful dance is in 40 yrs. Bounce on a scale.. see the weight change... that's how much force from each step; multiply it by 2-3 x for the force of UNBALANCED weight that is on one side of a structure if you move out of alignment. Moving gracefully and well-aligned lowers the force on joints/disks far more than any weight reduction. I do ballroom 3-5 hrs a week.

First, consider rest.
Second, here's how to fix the swelling. Get into as deep a body of water as you can manage. It acts like a super-ace-wrap over the whole lower body.
Third.. distant third... is the nutrients/supplements
You might want to look at DIETARY nutrients (fruits, green vegetables, milk, nuts) as sources of calcium and magnesium since in the pill form they are guaranteed to affect bowel and gut action (tums, stimulant of stomach acid and inhibitor of gut activity) milk of magnesia.... 'nuf said. Oh ! vitamin D ! forgot that... These and potassium all affect muscle tone. But while it is unlikely that you are low on any but vitamin D, YOU are still growing and depositing Bone. So, while beneficial effects on pain are conjectural, benefit on bone is Well Established.
1300 mg of calcium, 400mg of magnesium daily each is quite a decent amount.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter11/articles/winter11pg12.html
600mg vitamin D might be a bit low, but with some outdoor activity it's a good supplement.

Chondroitin and glucosamine help pain in joints not muscles but is safe.
You can take Tylenol instead of tramodol.

You might really want to skip a few days, overuse injuries abound! (tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints.. there are dozens with the same pathophysiology).

You need to concentrate on flexibility and warm ups and stretching.
Ok... here's the tip for yoga.. I'm the only source of it. whenever you stretch a muscle it is potentially like hitting it with a reflex hammer and will tend to trigger a reflexive jerk against the stretch that is painful. Therefore, all those joint pulling yoga/flexing/stretching can make things hurt
BUT!
overstimulating the area will prevent the reflex and also damp down pain(TENS UNIT is useful for pain because of this). And.... you can do this all over, without a tens unit, just by being in a warm shower. So.. do gradual, slow stretches and yoga movements in a warm shower
CAREFULLY due to the risk of falling.
To summarize:
seriously consider rest as an important component of an exercise regimen.
Calcium and magnesium in fruits/green veg/dairy/nuts
Chondroitin/glucosamine cannot hurt
Stretching/flexiblity before work outs .. in a warm shower is truly Magical which you can verify before commenting/grading my reply.


I can wait.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
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Dr. Matt Wachsman

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Practicing since :1985

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Are Omega 3 supplements effective in helping muscle recovery after a workout?

Brief Answer: Not a bit on omega 3. Detailed Answer: Heck, they seriously might make it worse. Ok, the first thing to realize is that you're female. There are limits to muscle bulking that you can get. Heck, there's even more limits on the amount of muscle bulking you'd WANT to get! The stimulus of muscle bulking is all the things that make them hurt (such forceful exercise that the muscles are starved for oxygen and fuel, production of acids like lactate, or .. the physical ripping of them). Some of the inflammatory mediators are breakdown products of lipids that are very like omega 3 (production of prostaglandins). While this can be inhibited by aspirin like drugs and while inhibition of them with aspirin like drugs produce more muscle bulking in males, Why Even Go There? Don't do exercises that produce that much pain, the gain you get from it is irrelevant to you! Endurance exercise is best for fitness. Do cardio. Do it gradually with increases in duration and intensity and rest for 2-3 days if there is significant pain and restart at a lower level. Toning muscle requires no pain, just moderate reps at about 50% of maximal amt you can lift 2 x a day daily for about 2 weeks. Sadly, your doctor was quite right in tramadol. Tylenol is also SAFE, BUT aspirin like anti-inflammatories can really damage the kidney and cannot be considered necessarily safe even in over the counter strengths.