Our finned friends offer a wealth of muscle-building might and body-leaning support, both from protein and other nutrients. When it comes to protein, fish skeletal muscle is molecularly similar to mammalian skeletal muscle and offers the same 6-7 g of protein per oz., but is typically leaner. For instance, water-packed tuna derives more than 80 percent of its calories from protein, just one reason it has long been a favorite snack for athletes of all types.
The appeal goes beyond just protein. A 165 g can of tuna contains more than 3 g of leucine, the branched-chain amino acid most responsible for stimulating MPS. Tuna is also one of the best dietary sources of the amino acid arginine, which can support blood flow via nitric oxide production. That same can contains 2.5 g of arginine, as well as healthy blasts of iron, niacin, and vitamin B12. Fish also provides creatine at about the same level as beef, at approximately 1 g per 8 oz. in the case of tuna.
Fish is also the single best source of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. You can get some EPA indirectly from non-meat sources like nuts and seeds, but DHA comes only from seafood. These special fats are unique in many ways, but when it comes to muscle, researchers have reported that when people consumed fish oil supplement providing a little more than 3 grams of EPA and DHA for eight weeks, their MPS was optimized in response to eating.10,11 In addition, omega-3 fats have been reported to help improve aspects of exercise recovery like reducing inflammation and soreness.12 One last exciting area of fish oil application is the ability of omega-3 fats to potentially support optimal testosterone formation.
By Neale Cranwell