Journal Title (Medline/Pubmed accepted abbreviation): Am. J. Clin. Nutr.
Page numbers: 428-436
Background: Omega–3 fatty acids, which are in high concentrations in fish oil, have been shown to improve the efficiency of signaling in the nervous system and increase heart muscle function in the elderly. The two most bioactive omega–3 fatty acids are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Hypothesis:Fish oil supplementation will increase the effects of a strength training routine on the neuromuscular system in elderly women. Also, increased amount of time taking fish oil supplements will lead to increased benefits of exercise.
Subjects: 45 healthy, Caucasian women, age 64 ± 1.4 y.
Experimental Design: stratified randomization according to knee extension strength, repeated measures. Participants were unaware of the other treatment groups.
Treatments: Fish oil was delivered in capsules to equate to 2 g/day (about 0.4 g EPA and 0.3 g DHA)
ST- No supplement, strength training only ST90– Fish oil
supplementation during the strength training routine (90 days)
ST150– Fish oil supplementation for the 60 days before the strength training routine, then also during the 90 day strength training (150 days total)
Protocol:Neuromuscular and functional capacity of the muscle were assessed at the beginning and the end of the strength training routine. The ST150 group was also assessed for these parameters before the start of taking the supplement. Participants were acquainted with the exercises and repetition maxima were determined in the first 2 wks. Subsequently, the strength training program was performed 3 times per week for 12 weeks. Several lower body exercises using pulley–type machines were performed with the weight adjusted accordingly as their strength progressed. Strength was assessed by peak torque during a maximal voluntary isometric contraction (pushing against an immovable object) for various muscles. Meanwhile, a surface electromyography device evaluated muscle activation. Functional capacity was assessed by evaluating performance at everyday tasks, for example “chair rising” and a 6 min walk.
Key practice applications: Fish oil supplementation at 2 g/day helped maximize the gains from strength training in these older women by increasing the responsiveness, strength, and function of their neuromuscular system.
Key search terms for this article (5-7 terms):elderly, older, fish oil, omega–3’s, EPA, DHA, strength, cachexia, resistance training, strength training