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Omega-3 Supplements May Help Muscle Function and Mass in Older Adults

As we age, we naturally have a decrease in muscle function and muscle mass, but steps can be taken to combat that. A recent study has found that fish oil-derived omega-3 supplements may improve muscle function and muscle mass in healthy mature adults.

Participants in the study included sixty men and women between the ages of 60 and 85. They were given 3.6 g EPA/DHA of fish oil-derived omega-3s or a placebo in the form of corn oil. They took their pills daily for six months.

In order to assess muscle function and muscle mass, the researchers measured muscle volume, handgrip strength, one-repetition maximum lower and upper body strength, and average power during isokinetic leg exercises at the beginning and the end of the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that body weight, total body fat mass, and inter-muscular fat content was not significantly affected by the omega-3 supplements. However, they did note a significant increase in thigh muscle volume, handgrip strength, and one-repetition muscle strength in the omega-3 group. One-repetition muscle strength is a composite score for leg press, chest press, knee extension, and knee flexion.

The researchers recommended that fish oil-derived omega-3s be included in therapeutic approaches aimed at preventing sarcopenia and helping older adults maintain muscle function and independence.

Researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 20, 2015, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s. T If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.

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