Omega-3 supplementation can increase muscle protein synthesis, mainly by regulating the mTOR pathways
During exercise, our body is under stress. This stress allows us to improve our performance, health and stimulates muscle protein synthesis. Once the exercise has stopped, the body goes into recovery mode. Here is where we need Omega-3
Complete muscle protein synthesis will lead to optimal recovery and improve overall performance
If the body does not fully recover, we are more at risk of injuries as our body has not adapted to the stress of exercise. Overall optimal stress recovery leads to improved physical strength and fitness.
Omega-3 supplementation can increase muscle protein synthesis, mainly by regulating the mTOR pathway(*,**). The mTOR pathways is a very important regulatory pathway in the process of cell production and growth. By regulating this pathway, omega-3 can also reduce the activity of NF-κB and slow down muscle protein breakdown(***). Leading into complete recovery mode.
Omega-3 has many other benefits for athletic performance.
Omega-3 supplementation can improve muscle strength and function, reduce muscle damage and soreness, and improve the function of the heart and lungs(V).
Research also suggests omega-3 improves muscle anabolism through enhanced sensitivity to anabolic stimuli such as exercise, protein intake and increases in insulin levels in the blood that stimulate the synthesis of muscle protein. A balanced level of EPA and DHA is important to enhance the effect of Omega-3 in full muscle protein synthesis
Reducing muscle recovery time(v). Clinical trials investigating the effect of omega-3 supplementation on muscle soreness have reported significant reductions in muscle soreness in both the arms and lower limbs after exercise with supplementation(v). One of these trials found a short supplementation period of only two weeks could reduce muscle soreness after bicep curls by 15%(v)
Omega-3 supplementation may also be a potential method of preventing exercise-induced muscle damage
From the research available, we know that Omega-3 supplementation can improve muscle function and recovery and has benefits for athletes, healthy individuals and those recovering from illness and injury.
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**Drummond MJ, Miyazaki M, Dreyer HC, et al. Expression of growth-related genes in young and older human skeletal muscle following an acute stimulation of protein synthesis. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2009;106(4):1403-1411.
***Magee P, Pearson S, Whittingham-Dowd J, Allen J. PPARγ as a molecular target of EPA anti-inflammatory activity during TNF-α-impaired skeletal muscle cell differentiation. J Nutr Biochem. 2012;23(11):1440-1448.
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Tartibian B, Maleki BH, Abbasi A. The effects of ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men. Clin J Sport Med. 2009;19(2):115-119.