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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Provide Exercise Benefits for Runners

Running economy is relationship between oxygen consumption and running speed. The less oxygen used during running, the better the running economy. A recent study suggests that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may help improve running economy in long-distance runners.

Participants in the study included 26 amateur long-distance runners over the age of 29. Half received omega-3 fatty acids capsules containing 2,234 mg of EPA and 916 mg of DHA daily for 12 weeks. The other half received a placebo. Participants performed endurance training during the 12 weeks.

Blood samples were taken at baseline and at the end of the study period to measure the omega-3 index. Participants performed an incremental test to exhaustion and a 1500-m run trial at baseline and the end of the study.

Omega-3 fatty acid participants saw improvements in running economy compared to the placebo group. They also saw a significant increase in the omega-3 index, from 5.8% to 11.6%. No changes were seen in the placebo group.

In addition, the omega-3 fatty acid group saw significant increases in VO2 peak compared to no significant changes in the placebo group. VO2 peak measures the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during exercise.

The study was conducted by researchers from Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport. It was published online ahead of print on September 26, 2022 in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

In a previous study, beetroot juice was found to help decrease running time.

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