We know that insulin resistance, often a consequence of a poor diet, lack of exercise or simply part of the natural aging process, decreases our muscle cells ability to use nutrients from the food we eat and convert them into muscle proteins.
Since we also know that omega-3 fatty acids are known to play an important role in optimising insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, researchers led by Carole Thivierge, from Université Laval’s Institute of Nutraceutics and Functional Foods, decided to test whether omega-3 supplementation could also positively influence muscle cells ability to use nutrients from the food we eat and thereby possibly enhance muscle protein metabolism.
Research subjects were given supplements containing either omega-3’s from fish oil (such as those found in Muscle Science’s Opti-EFA soft gels) or a mixture of cottonseed and olive oils without omega-3’s added to their regular diets. Results showed that after only 5 weeks of supplementation, those test subjects receiving supplemental omega-3’s showed an increased sensitivity to insulin, which in turn improved protein metabolism resulting in around double the amount of amino acids being used by their bodies to synthesize muscle proteins.
These findings clearly indicate the potential value of essential fatty acid supplementation to athletes. Adding fish oil containing essential fatty acid supplementation to our diet should not only curtail the age related decline in muscle mass along with reduce the various other health problems attributed to declining insulin sensitivity, but should also help aspiring athletes who are trying to increase their lean muscle mass and strength.
Having said that we need to be mindful of the fact that increasing lean muscle mass is not as simple as popping a few extra EFA capsules every day and that for increased muscle protein synthesis to take place, progressive resistance training along with a well balanced diet and adequate rest and recovery are essential.
Source: Carole Thivierge, Institute of Nutraceutics and Functional Foods, Université Laval.