Bodybuilding: Fatty Acids Benefits For Bodybuilders

Published Categorized as Lean Muscle Diet

What are fatty acids?

Fatty acids are the building blocks of the fat in human bodies. In order to be usable by the body, foods containing fats are broken down in the small intestine into smaller products called fatty acids. These fatty acids are then transported across the wall of the small intestine into the blood to be used or stored for future purposes.

Fatty acids are usually joined together in groups of three, forming a structure called a triglyceride.

Understanding more about fats and their benefits

Although the words fats and fatty acids might conjure up a picture of obesity and other horrible diseases, the body actually needs them for many useful purposes which include:

  • insulate the body.

  • storage of energy.

  • production of energy.

  • protect body organs against shock.

  • release of energy when blood glucose is depleted.

  • build nerve tissue (including the brain and nerves).

  • uptake of Vitamins A, D E and K from the small intestine into the blood. These are fat soluble vitamins because they can only be absorbed if there’s fat in a person’s diet.

  • build hormones or substances which are made in structures called glands. Examples include testosterone in males and estrogen and testosterone in females.

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What are three types of fats or fatty acids needed by the human body?

Three types of fats or fatty acids can be taken in via food sources. They are:

  • Saturated  fats or fatty acids
  • Monounsaturated fats or fatty acids
  • Polyunsaturated fats or fatty acids

Saturated fats or  fatty acids originate from both animal fats and plant oils.  They are usually solid at room temperature.

These types of fatty acids are either short-chain (containing 4–12 carbon chains), mid-chain (containing 13–16 carbon long chains) and long-chain fatty acids {containing 17–26 carbon chains).

Foods sources that are high in saturated fat include:

  • fatty cuts of meats

  • skin from poultry – remove the skin when cooking

  • full fat dairy products like butter, milk, yoghurt, cheese and cream

  • Many take-away foods and processed foods, such as pies, pastries, doughnuts, cakes and biscuits.

  • Plant sources include palm oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil. 

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are usually liquid at room temperature. They are needed for good health and are better for bodybuilders. These fats help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering the ‘bad’ (low density lipoprotein or LDL) cholesterol in the blood.

Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are found in foods such as:

  • avocado

  • nuts and seeds

  • sunflower, olive, peanut and sesame oils

  • some vegetable oils and margarine spreads

  • oily fish, including salmon, sardines, blue mackerel and tuna

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Can body builders use the saturated fatty acids in coconut oil?

Saturated fats or fatty acids are also found in tropical oils, like palm kernel or coconut oil. However, coconut oil possesses medium chain triglycerides or MCTs which are shorter than most other fats.Medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil go straight to the liver where they are rapidly used for energy or converted into ketones.

Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain, and are being studied as treatment for conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease.

Additionally, coconut oil has been shown to have many beneficial effects such as:

  • increasing the usage of fat in the body.

  • killing harmful germs and protect from disease

  • Reducing hunger thus helping individuals to reduce food intake. Increasing the good cholesterol or High Density Lipoprotein or HDL. This is important in reducing heart disease.

  • Improving the moisture content of the skin thus reducing symptoms of eczema

What are the essential fatty acids?

The two major classes of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Of the two, Omega-3 fatty acids are the most beneficial since they can reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer. Omega-3s are found in fish and fish oil, all green leafy vegetables, flax seed, hemp, and walnuts.

Omega-3s play the following important roles in the body-

  • They are components of the phospholipids that form and maintain the structures of human building blocks aka cell walls and membranes

  • DHA, an Omega 3, is especially high in the retina of the eye, brain, and sperm

  • Omega-3s (along with omega-6s) provide energy for the body.

  • They help to reduce inflammation which is an underlying cause of disorders like asthma

  • Play an important role in reducing migraines.

  • The Omega 3s play a wide role in general health and well being.

The Omega-6 fatty acids are found corn oil and vegetable oils used in so much American food. Too much omega 6 can raise the blood pressure, lead to blood clots that can lead to  heart attack and stroke and cause the body to retain water.

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