Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Omega 3 fatty acids, one of the major classes of polyunsaturated fats, can be found naturally in such foods as nuts and seeds and their accompanying oils as well as fatty fish. While several forms of omega-3s exist, those considered essential to human health include plant-derived α-linolenic acid (ALA) and marine-derived eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are produced in small amounts from ALA. Physical stress triggers the release of harmful compounds known as free radicals that can penetrate the protective membrane of any cell in the body, leading to cell damage and a consequent inflammatory response.
While the body has defense mechanisms to deal with acute inflammation, severe injury or extreme exercise stress can lead to chronic inflammation and the activation of nerves responsible for the sensation of pain, thereby compromising recovery. It is currently thought that the benefits of omega-3s originate, in part, from two compounds appropriately named protectins and resolvins that are derived specifically from EPA and DHA; these compounds protect the structural integrity of cell membranes and fight tissue degradation, resolve inflammation, and significantly downgrade pain.