Omega-3 may boost lung function during sport

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acids

Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may improve lung function of athletes during and after exercise, suggests a new study from Germany and Iran with wrestlers.

Amateur Iranian wrestlers, and not the Hulk Hogan kind, experienced improvements in numerous measures of lung capacity, including lung volume [forced vital capacity (FVC)] and airflows [forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)], and found significant improvements following 12 weeks of supplementation and training.

According to findings published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport​, omega-3 fatty acids from marine origin during intensive training may find a role in the ever burgeoning sports nutrition market, reported to be worth $2.7 billion in the US in 2008, says the Nutrition Business Journal​.

“These results also have far-reaching implications for coaches, trainers, and exercise physiologists who work and design training programs for amateur and professional wrestlers,”​ wrote the researchers from the Urmia University in Iran and the University of Tuebingen in Germany.

“Further investigations are required to elucidate the relationship between omega-3 and pulmonary function, and underlying mechanisms responsible for such a relationship during exercise training,” ​they added.

Study details

The researchers recruited 40 non-smoking, amateur male wrestlers with an average age of 18.6 and an average BMI 22.75 kg/m2. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups: A experimental group which received training and omega-3 supplements (1,000 mg omega-3, with 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA, Viva omega-3 fish oil, Canada), a placebo group, an active control group (training plus placebo), and an inactive control (omega-3 but no training).

At the end of the study, improvements in FEV1 of 41 per cent and FVC of 53 per cent, in the omega-3 supplements and training group as well as four other measures, compared to the other groups.

“In the present study we have examined for the first time the response of pulmonary function to n-3 consumption during specific exercise training,”​ wrote the researchers.

“These data are the first to be published regarding the beneficial effects of omega-3 on athletes’ pulmonary function during participation in training programs,”​ they added.

Source: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
March 2010, Volume 13, Issue 2, Pages 281-286
“The effects of omega-3 supplementation on pulmonary function of young wrestlers during intensive training”
Authors: B. Tartibian, B.H. Maleki, A. Abbasi

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