News - Omega-3 May Enhance Muscle Strength
Numerous studies have shown that ‘strength’ training is an excellent way to preserve muscle mass as we age. What’s more, recent findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that supplementing with omega-3-rich fish oil may enhance the benefits of a strength-training regime, boosting muscle function and force.
Researchers from Parana Federal University in Brazil recruited 45 women aged around 64 and assigned them all to a strength training programme. Fifteen of these women received two grams of fish oil per day for the 90 days of strength training, a further 15 women received fish oil for 60 days prior to strength training and then for the 90 days of training and the remaining women acted as a control group.
Results showed that the strength training boosted muscle strength and the rate of strength development, with the improvements being more pronounced in the two omega-3 groups. In addition, the performance of the women in chair-rising exercises was also higher in the fish oil groups, compared with strength training alone.
Speculating on the potential mechanisms, the researchers explain that fish oil may improve muscle function by altering the fluidity of cell membranes, or that the omega-3-rich oil may increase sensitivity of the muscle to the messages the body uses to communicate between nerves and muscles, accelerating the rate at which the muscle can contract.
Rodacki et al. “Fish-oil supplementation enhances the effects of strength training in elderly women” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition