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Omega-3's May Help Keep Your Muscles Strong as you Age

A daily omega-3 supplement may help mature adults avoid degenerative muscle loss according to a study conducted at the Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science at Washington University School of Medicine.

The study was published in the February 2011 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Age-related degenerative muscle loss is a result of sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass and coordination that comes with aging. There are three factors related to this condition; protein deficiency, motor unit restructuring and changes in hormone concentrations.

For the study, the researchers sought to determine if omega-3’s could benefit muscle health. 16 healthy adults with an average age of 71 were recruited. They were given either a daily supplement containing 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo for eight weeks.

The researchers found that participants given the omega-3 fatty acid supplement showed increased production of important muscle proteins as well as the supply of amino acids and insulin. They said this shows that omega-3’s may be useful as a therapeutic treatment of sarcopenia.

Currently, 45% of people over 65 years of age are thought to be impacted by age related muscle loss. While research is still preliminary, fighting muscle loss may soon be added to the already impressive list of health benefits associated with omega-3 fatty acids.

This list already includes boosting heart health, reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline, improving mood and reducing the risk of age-related vision loss.

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