Fill Up On Omega-3s

omega 3 foods

Dayton Kelly

This article was adapted from a combination of speeches given at the European Sports Science Conference 2017, most notably Edholm, P. et al. [Sweden].

Fill up on Omega-3s for strength, lean mass and safety in old age.

Though the degree of strength loss that occurs as a result of aging remains debatable, it remains that the average elderly person is about 40% weaker than the average young adult. Whether this loss of strength is entirely a natural function of aging or partially a symptom of lifestyle is unknown, however it is none the less important to improve and enhance muscular strength in these populations. Increased strength is related to greater ability to complete the tasks of daily living, a reduced risk of falls and, perhaps most importantly, a greater sense of wellbeing.

Related Article: Nutrition Takeaways: Gatorade Sport Science Institute

Using Omega-3s to stay strong in old age?

almond treeIt is well documented that exercise training can preserve and induce muscular strength in elderly populations. While it appears more difficult to induce muscle growth, this too is possible. New to the research scene though is the usefulness of omega-3 fatty acids in promoting muscle growth and strength in the elderly. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat (the good kind) that can be found in a number of food products such as nuts and seeds. While in the past they have been promoted as beneficial for preventing heart disease, they now appear to be important in exercise.

A novel study investigating fitness outcomes in females 65 to 75 years of age found superior training adaptations when dietary omega-3 was increased and combined with exercise training in comparison to exercise alone. The dietary change provided “free” adaption that participants would have otherwise had to spend extra time in the gym working towards. Perhaps most interestingly, in this study, while exercise alone was able to improve strength, no significant improvement in muscle size was detected in 24 weeks of training unless the dietary change was made.

Related Article: Re-Thinking Gender Based Nutrition

Application:

Elderly individuals, especially women, should employ exercise training in combination with a diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids to see optimal performance results.

CAUTION: as always, be sure to check with you doctor before making dietary changes.

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