A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto and published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition reports that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can improve neuromuscular function and reduce muscle fatigue in athletes. Those who received omega-3 for 3 weeks had a 20% increase of muscle function in the thigh.
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids TOURVES form long chains in fatty fish, shellfish, crustaceans, eggs from hens fed flaxseed. Can also be synthesized from alpha-linolenic acid rapeseed, flax seed, nuts …
“The ability of skeletal muscle to generate force and resist fatigue is critical in sports performance,” the authors explain in their article. “The changes in training neuromuscular skeletal and muscular systems modulate the ability to generate muscle strength and fatigue resistance.”
“Many studies have evaluated the effect of nutritional supplements on the weight (protein supplementation) and methods to enhance endurance performance (carbohydrate load).” But to date, few studies have examined the effect of nutritional supplements on the neuromuscular system.
Central and peripheral nerves are made up of fatty acids, mainly polyunsaturated. “Omega-3s are part of neurons, nerve endings, muscle membranes and myelin.” And more and more evidence suggests that omega-3 improves neuronal function and adaptations to exercise. “The omega-3 supplementation would be able to improve the speed of nerve conduction, membrane fluidity, the sensitivity to acetylcholine and also reduce inflammation after exercise”.
The researchers conducted their study on 30 male athletes with a mean age of 25 years and who train about 17 hours per week. Participants received either seal oil supplement containing omega-3 long-chain (375 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid EPA, 230 mg of docosapentaenoic acid DPA, 510 mg docosahexaénoïqueDHA acid per day) or placebo for 3 weeks. Athletes have passed tests at the beginning and end of the study.
The results show that omega-3 supplements are associated with a significantly increased level of EPA in the blood, compared to participants who received placebo. But the researchers found no difference between the 2 groups for levels of DPA and DHA.
Omega-3 supplements have allowed a 20% increase in muscle function -évaluée thigh muscle electromyography the vast outer- compared to placebo. Omega-3 supplements were also associated with reduced muscle fatigue.
“To our knowledge, this study is the first to assess the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on athletes by measuring both the changes in neuromuscular function and performance,” say the authors. “This study shows that omega-3 supplements increase muscle activation and decreases fatigue.” According to the authors, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that omega-3 have a beneficial effect in athletes.
The authors explain that omega-3 change the composition of the cell membrane fluidity, which could stimulate nerve function. “Supplementation with omega-3 could have changed the dynamics of muscle membrane and improved conduction of muscle action potential across the working muscle.” “The change in membrane dynamics may have reduced muscle damage”
Similarly, in the group receiving omega-3, mitigation of muscle damage could maintain conduction of the action potential in the muscle, thus maintaining the excitation-contraction coupling and eventually the muscle force generation capacity .
This study adds to existing evidence omega-3 benefits in sports nutrition.