With winter coming, everyone is reaching for their Omega-3 and vitamin D supplements. We know how important these supplements are and what benefits they bring to our daily health, especially at this time of year.
Recent research, however, has uncovered another little gem that Omega-3 possesses and that is its ability to improve skeletal muscle function and recovery. A new study out of the University of Wollongong, Australia, published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that Omega-3 helped to improve muscle twitch tension and recovery, resulting in higher oxygen efficiency and reduced muscle fatigue.
While we know that Omega-3 is good for heart health, this research study showed that fish oil can alter the fatty acid composition of muscle membranes, including the membrane of the heart, which can lead to improvements in mechanical performance and oxygen consumption. This eight-week clinical animal trial set out to determine whether this effect carries over to skeletal muscle membranes as well.
For this trial, rats were divided into three different groups depending on diet:
- Rich in saturated fats
- Rich in Omega-6 (linoleic acid)
- Rich in Omega-3 (fish oil)
The rats were put through a series of tests consisting of 10-minute sessions of muscular contractions of the hind leg via the sciatic nerve. The Omega-3 group fared better than the other two groups, showing consistently better twitch tension throughout the contraction sessions and used less oxygen during recovery. The saturated fats group continued to show poor oxygen efficiency even at rest, while the Omega-3 group’s resting oxygen consumption didn’t change.
The results of this test is that “membrane incorporation of n-3 PUFA DHA following fish oil feeding was associated with increased efficiency of muscle O2 consumption and promoted resistance to muscle fatigue.”
Originally published @ FITLODE.COM