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Omega-3s May Help Slow Age-Related Muscle Decline

Both muscle mass and function decline as we age, typically starting in the 40’s and then increasing after age 50. A recent study suggests that supplements of omega-3s derived from fish oil may help slow that decline.

Participants in the study included 60 healthy older people between the ages of 60 and 85. Over the course of six months, they were given either a supplement containing 1.86 g of EPA and 1.5 g of DHA or a control in the form of corn oil. Forty-four of the participants completed the study.

The researchers found that the omega-3 group had a 3.6% increase in thigh muscle volume, a 5 pound increase in handgrip strength, and a 4% increase in maximum lower and upper body strength when compared with the control group. The difference in muscle volume was approximately 3.5% and the difference in muscle strength was approximately 6%.

The researchers noted that these results are lower than what is reported from exercise training but more than reported from testosterone, growth hormone, or dehydroepiandrosterone therapy in older adults.

Researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition and the Program in Physical Therapy conducted the study. It was published 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.
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