FAQ: How does flaxseed benefit athletes and sports training?
The omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic (ALA), is an essential fatty acid found in flaxseed that helps to improve the metabolism of fats, which is especially helpful for endurance sports, such as marathons. When a runner "hits the wall" and their glycogen stores are used up, the body begins burning fats. In this case, efficient burning of fats makes a difference in performance. ALA also improves response time. Electrical impulses move from the brain to muscles across cell membranes, which are rich in ALA when consumed in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as ALA, are the most efficient fatty acids in allowing these electrical impulses to move from cell to cell. Thus, response time is improved. ALA also aids in muscle repair at the cellular level. Omega-3 fatty acids present on the cell membrane significantly affect the speed and quality of tissue repair.