The Impact of Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Supplementation on Body Composition, Strength, and Power in Collegiate Athletes

Main Article Content

Jeffery Heileson
Ashlyne Elliott
Julie Buzzard
Mitchell Cholewinski
Andrew Gallucci
LesLee Funderburk

Keywords

Abstract

Introduction: Recent evidence suggests that long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LC n-3) supplementation may enhance training adaptations associated with athletic performance. This study examined the impact of LC n-3 supplementation on body composition, strength, and power in collegiate athletes.


Methods:  Athletes (n = 27) were assigned to one of two conditions for eight weeks: fish oil (FO, 3.0 g∙d-1 [1.75g EPA and 1.1g DHA], n = 15) or placebo (PL, high-oleic safflower oil, 3g, n = 12) for 8-weeks. Athletes completed a three-day food log and questionnaire, provided a blood sample via fingerstick to determine their LC n-3 status, conducted body composition analysis through dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and had their handgrip strength (HGS) and countermovement jump assessed.


Results: In the FO group, the omega-3 index, EPA and DHA increased by 73%, 332% and 64%, respectively, while there was no change in the placebo group. HGS significantly improved in the FO group (p = .018, +9.1%) and did not change in the placebo group (p = .615, -1.8%). Body composition and power were similar between groups. The change in HGS was positively correlated with the relative change in EPA and EPA:AA ratio.


Conclusions: For in-season athletes, the addition of LC n-3 supplementation to a dietary regime increases blood LC n-3 status and may preserve or improve muscular performance while in-season.

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References

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