There is evidence that taking fish oil improves muscle growth from training in older women.

There is a growing body of evidence that increasing your intake of fish oil, or more specifically the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found commonly in fish oil, can help increase muscle growth, muscle repair and improve the results that you get from exercising.

That may sound strange, however previous studies supporting this conclusion have now been joined by a new study, published in early 2012, suggesting that older women who undertake strength training can improve the results of that strength training by taking fish oil supplements.

In the new study, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 45 healthy women around 65 years of age were studied. The study was undertaken in Brazil.

During the study these women were broken into 3 groups, all 3 involving the same amount of strengthening exercises undertaken 3 times a week for 90 days.

One of the groups of women undertook only the strengthening exercises. The 2nd group did the strengthening exercises plus took 2 grams of fish oil each day beginning on the 1st day, and the 3rd group took 2 grams of fish oil each day, but starting 60 days before beginning the exercise training.Fish oil and muscle

As part of the study the muscle strength of the women was evaluated, and as you would expect all of the groups of women showed an improvement in muscle strength by the end of the study.

However the groups of women who supplemented the strength training with fish oil supplementation showed a greater increase in muscle strength than those who did not. There was no difference in the increase in muscle strength between the group who started the supplementation on the day the muscle training began, and the group who began 2 months before.

Of course as you get older you start to suffer from declining muscle capacity, and for this reason strength training may well be beneficial to older people. It seems, following the conclusions of this relatively small study, that you may well be able to improve your results by taking fish oil supplements as well.

This isn’t the only study showing some form of correlation between increasing muscle mass or capacity and taking fish oil supplements. It has been observed, for example, that cancer patients who take fish oil can retain muscle mass better than those who do not.

And some bodybuilders are being advised to add a dose of fish oil supplements to their muscle training to help build muscle mass. And it’s not just muscle mass, other reasons bodybuilders might consider taking fish oil include that there is evidence that increasing your intake of fish oil not only increases muscle mass but also helps reduce body fat, particularly around the abdomen.

And as we have noted elsewhere on this website, it is now commonly accepted that the Omega 3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA are effective anti-inflammatories, this being one of the major reasons why they are effective in helping reduce symptoms of a number of different conditions. Highly trained athletes, including bodybuilders, are often prone to inflammatory injuries, often of the joints, and therefore fish oil supplementation may well help reduce the incidence of inflammation and associated injuries.

And of course there are the more general benefits. Supplementing with fish oil for muscle increase is just one. Reducing your likelihood of dying from a heart attack has to be good to everybody, not just bodybuilders.

And there are also specific advantages of fish oil supplementation for the older people amongst us. As well as taking fish oil for muscle strength, Omega 3 fats can help reduce your risk of macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly, particularly in women. And there is strong evidence that the anti-inflammatory effects of the Omega 3 fats can also help in a regime designed to help treat arthritis.

So whether you’re an older female, like in the study, a bodybuilder or anyone, there are powerful reasons to consider increasing your intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil.

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