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How Omega 3 Helps Build Muscle: Increase Protein Synthesis- Thomas DeLauer… Preliminary studies on burned rats and tumor-bearing mice have found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, with or without amino acid supplementation, helps to maintain whole-body protein net balance, whole-body protein synthesis, and muscle mass. Studies in older adults have demonstrated that omega-3 supplementation significantly increased muscle protein synthesis rate during hyperinsulinemia-hyperaminoacidemia. This increase is likely due to the greater activation of the mTOR-p70s6k signalling pathway.
Another study found that increased omega-3 fatty acid intake reduced the loss of total body and limb fat-free masses in certain patients undergoing oesophageal cancer surgery. The mechanisms of action are not yet fully understood, but may have something to do with the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids as burns, aging, and cancer are all associated with inflammation.

Case Study: In 2012, researchers at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri set out to understand how EPA and DHA affect muscle growth. 9 healthy participants age 25-45 who led a sedentary lifestyle supplemented with 4 grams of DHA+EPA daily for an 8-week period. Before and after the 8 weeks of supplementation, multiple measurements were taken.

Muscle biopsies, Hyperinsulinemic-hyperaminoacidemic clamp, where insulin and amino acids, respectively, are pumped into the bloodstream. Molecular, enzymatic, and cellular markers were analyzed…

Findings: Omega-3 fatty acid did not affect protein synthesis without the addition of insulin and amino acids. This makes sense as there must be sufficient amino acids available to make more muscle. Additionally, insulin is an anabolic hormone. It queues the body to slow protein degradation and increase muscle growth. In the high amino acid and insulin environment, the higher omega-3 fatty acid levels enhanced mechanisms of muscle growth. With increased omega-3 fatty acids following supplementation, it was found that the muscle protein fractional synthesis rate increased. This means that the muscles had more protein synthesis than breakdown compared to before supplementation. The pathways which regulates protein synthesis was found to be 50% more active in the presence of higher omega-3 fatty acid levels.

Protein: DNA ratio and protein muscle concentration was higher after supplementation

Case Study: In a 2009 study published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, it was found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation helped to relieve DOMS symptoms. 27 untrained men were recruited to participate in the randomized, double-blinded study. There were three groups: placebo, control and experimental (1.8 grams/day omega-3 fatty acids) The exercise used was eccentric exercise in knee extensors, and knee range of motion (ROM), perceived pain, and thigh circumference were measured before, immediately after, 24 hours after, and 48 hours after an eccentric exercise. The researchers found that omega-3 supplementation reduced perceived pain and range of motion 48 hours after exercise, however there was no difference before, immediately after, or 24 hours after exercise. These findings demonstrate that omega-3 supplementation may help to relieve DOMS post exercise.

References:
1. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperaminoacidemia-hyperinsulinemia in healthy young middle aged men and women
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3499967/

2. Dietary supplementation with a specific combination of high protein, leucine, and fish oil improves muscle function and daily activity in tumour-bearing cachectic mice
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19259092

3. Effect of intravenous omega-5 and omega-3 fat emulsions on nitrogen retention and protein kinetics in burned rats
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9990578

4. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21159787

5. Enteral nutrition enriched with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) preserves lean body mass following esophageal cancer surgery: results of a double-blinded randomized controlled trial
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19247018

6. The effects of ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19451765

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