A role for long-chain omega-3 EPA and DHA in muscle and strength training is gaining more attention. Mature women were recently studied (see link).
Results showed some benefits among those taking fish oil. Not surprising. I post this article for its newsworthiness, but also to clarify some statements made at the end of the article.
- From the article: “And while fish oil is generally considered safe at recommended doses, it can have side effects; the more common side effects include bad breath, heartburn, nausea and loose stools.” My comment: these side effects usually have more to do with digestion of any fat (e.g. potato chips, butter) and not fish oil per se.
- From the article “At higher doses — more than 3 grams per day — fish oil might interfere with blood clotting and raise the risk of internal bleeding, according to the National Institutes of Health.” My comment: the ‘3 grams per day’ refers to the total amount of EPA and DHA omega-3, not total amount of fish oil. In this study, the subjects taking fish oil took less than 800 mg per day, far less than 3 grams (3000 mg). For reference, 800 mg can be consumed by eating about 9 ounces of oily fish, such as salmon or tuna a week; that could be 3 – 3 ounce fish servings or 2 larger servings, or from supplements.
- From the article “People using medications — as most older adults are — should also check with their doctor about possible interactions. Fish oil can, for example, boost the effects of blood pressure drugs, which could send your blood pressure too low.” My comment: Moderate amounts of fish oil have not been shown to send your blood pressure too low. We do know that people who eat fish tend to, overall, have healthier blood pressure levels. Fish oil supplementation has been shown to normalize blood pressure. It is true, that interactions are possible; it is also plausible that one could lower their need for prescription medication when they are getting healthful amount of long-chain omega-3s in their diet. For many, this could have multiple benefits (better nutritional status, less need for Rx and lower healthcare cost) and be worth looking into.