An omega-3- fish oil supplement may enhance the benefits of resistance exercise in the elderly.
Regular readers of Nutrientology know that some form of resistance exercise is an important part of a type 2 diabetes exercise lifestyle and for management of pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome. I have posted on a number of occasions about your ability, no matter what your age, to benefit from some form of resistance exercise.
A new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2012) showed that an omega-3 fish oil supplement combined with strength training benefited people more than just strength training without the omega-3 fish oil supplement.
The researchers used forty-five women (age 64 ± 1.4 year) and measured the strength of each person to flex and extend their knee as well as their strength to move the ankle causing the foot to flex up and down. The before and after strength measures improved for both those people who took fish oil and those that did not, but the improvement was greater in those people who took the fish oil for 90 days or more.
They also found that the nerve signal that causes the muscles to move improved in those people that took the fish oil supplement. They measured if the improved strength affected real life by measuring their ability to rise up from sitting in a chair. You guessed it, the people that took the fish oil were better able to function and rise up after sitting in a chair.
This was a small study, and no conclusions can be drawn, but it does add another beneficial angle to the importance of a good diet including fish and other sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers believe that omega-3 aids in the ability of the nerves to work our muscles (neuromuscular system). Omega-3 has been shown to play a role in the cell membrane and cell function of muscles where the nerves join the muscles, and this effect may be what was responsible for boosting the benefits of exercise.
The study used a 2 gram omega-3 fish oil supplement that provided a daily dose of about 0.4 grams EPA and 0.3 grams of DHA. The amount of EPA and DHA are okay (maybe a little high), but I generally prefer a 1 gram (1,000 mg) omega-3 fish oil supplement.
Visit the NutrientologyTM Store for Omega-3 Supplements.