Numerous studies and research have shown that strength training is a very effective way of preserving muscle mass as we age. Additionally, recent test findings, published in the journal “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” suggest that enhancing one’s diet with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids or taking omega-3 supplements may enhance the advantages of a strength-training regimen by boosting muscle force and function. Other experts believe that increasing the amount of weight during your training and eating a balanced, low-fat diet can help accomplish this. They also added that supplementing higher protein enriched foods will help in building and maintaining muscles and switching from light to heavier weights during your exercise will result in a significant increase in the size of different muscle groups. These findings are all proven correct and significant, but discovering the benefits of omega-3 for muscle building is just the beginning.
Foods with high levels of omega-3s and omega-3 supplements are commonly used in supporting heart, mental and cardiovascular health. As people grow older, muscle mass ad muscle strength decreases, sarcopenia affects 50% of men and 30% of women aging 80 years and older. Loss of muscle mass also results to a slow metabolism that will increase a person’s susceptibility to weight gain specifically in the mid section. This weight gain is also a major risk factor for insulin resistance, hypertension, type -2 diabetes and atherosclerosis.
A new study found another benefit of omega-3 – it may improve the insulin resistance and give positive effects on muscle mass. A Canadian research found that omega-3 has the ability to accelerate protein synthesis on aging cattle by increasing the activity of a muscle compound known as mTOR and insulin, which are both sensitive to small or minute changes in the body’s energy status. mTOR is known to have a direct effect on the synthesis of protein and the brain’s appetite control. Omega-3s stimulate mTOR, which inhibits the body’s hunger sensations and prevents protein breakdown. These new findings are essential specifically anyone between the ages of 40 to 60, the stage where most people lose 20% of their muscle mass. Omega-3s enhance insulin resistance that helps older people build and sustain their muscle’s health. Another study made by researchers from the Center For Human Nutrition at Washington University School Of Medicine in St. Louis created a study group consisting of healthy adults with an average age of 71 that will receive 4 grams of fish oil or corn oil daily for 8 weeks. The grouped that received omega-3 improved the rate the synthesis of muscle protein in response to an increase in levels of insulin and amino acids in the blood.
Fatty acids can also help athletes and younger adults increase their muscle mass. Researchers from the Paarana University in Brazil made a group of 45 healthy women with an average age of 64 and made them to do strength training. 15 women received 2 grams of fish oil daily for 90 days of strength training, the other 15 women received fish oil for 60 days before starting their strength training and continued for at 90 days of strength training. The remaining 15 women acted as the control group. The results showed that doing strength training enhanced muscle strength and the rate of strength development. Significant improvements are more evident in the two omega-3 groups. Additionally, the performance of women who performed chair-raising exercises were also higher in the fish oil groups as compared to just strength training alone.
These are just some of the studies that showed the promise of omega-3 fatty acids in building and maintaining muscle health. Some experts suggest further studies about the advantages of omega-3 on muscle health but with these positive results, the trend is on the right track.