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Sports Medicine Dietary Supplementation Fatty Acids, Lipids & Oils

Omega-3s Enhance Athletic Performance

1 year, 5 months ago

1268  0
Posted on Jul 04, 2016, 6 a.m.

Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may improve nerve muscular function, reduce fatigue, and boost blood flow, among athletes.

An abundance of previous studies suggest that daily supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may exert beneficial effects on exercise parameters. Evan JH Lewis, from the University of Toronto (Canada), and colleagues studied 30 male athletes, average age 25 years, who were training for an average of 17 hours a week. Each subject was randomly assigned to receive either an omega-3 supplement (375 mg EPA, 230 mg DPA, 510 mg DHA daily), or placebo, for three weeks.  The team observed that the omega-3 supplements significantly increased blood EPA levels, raised thigh muscle function by 20%, and reduced fatigue.  These study authors report that: “Our data indicates [omega-3 fatty acid] supplementation improved peripheral neuromuscular function and aspects of fatigue.”  In a separate study, researchers from the Academy of Physical Education (Poland) studied 13 elite cyclists, each of whom was randomly assigned to receive daily omega-3 supplements (1.3 g per day), or placebo, for three weeks. Among the omega-3 supplemented group, baseline nitric oxide concentration was boosted by 8 micromoles/L greater than placebo; and flow mediated dilation – a measure of blood flow vascular health – was raised by 5.25%. These study authors report that: "These findings suggest that an increase in [nitric oxide] release in response to [omega-3 fatty acid] supplementation may play a central role in cardiovascular adaptive mechanisms and enhanced exercise performance in cyclists.”

Evan Lewis, Peter Radonic, Thomas Wolever, Greg Wells . “21 days of mammalian omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves aspects of neuromuscular function and performance in male athletes compared to olive oil placebo.”  Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015, 12:28, 18 June 2015.  Aleksandra Zebrowska, Katarzyna Mizia-Stec, Magda Mizia, Zbigniew Gąsior, Stanisław Poprzecki.  “Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation improves endothelial function and maximal oxygen uptake in endurance-trained athletes.” European J Sport Science, 15(4): 30-314.

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