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Does fish oil improve muscle tone?

Are you feeling weak?  Do you experience poor muscle tone?  Are you looking for ways that may help to improve your muscle strength? Well if this sounds like you, you may wish to consider trying a fish oil supplement.

Poor muscle strength and function is commonly seen in the elderly because the aging process naturally reduces muscle tone. This unfortunately leads to issues performing normal daily activities, increases the risk of falls and fractures and slows the recovery time after hospitalisation. 

These risk factors have lead researchers to explore more ways to improve and potentially minimise the loss of muscle tone in the elderly. A randomised, placebo trial investigated the use of fish oil in sixty healthy older participants aged 60-85 years of age. Participants were given either four grams (4000mg) of fish oil daily or a placebo for a six month time period.

The results of the study concluded that individuals who took the fish oil experienced a 3.6% increase in muscle volume in the thigh, a 4% increase in muscle strength, an improvement in hang grip strength and an increase in average isokinetic power compared to the control group. Researchers concluded that “fish oil derived from omega 3 slows the normal decline in muscle mass and function in older adults.” 

So there you have it, consider fish oil to help minimise the reduction of skeletal muscle mass and strength and to help to continue maintaining your independence! So how do we choose a good quality fish oil?  Consider these top tips and don’t be scared to phone the manufacturer to ask additional questions because you want to make sure that the fish oil you choose is pure, has an adequate omega 3 fatty acid content and is good quality to exert the best health benefits possible!

  • Ensure that the fish oil you do purchase has been tested for heavy metals (such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic), industrial chemicals (such as Polychlorinated biphenyls) (PCB’s) and environmental pollutants (such as dioxins).  This will ensure that the fish oil is of good quality and complies with Australian standards.
  • Find out what types of fish are used in the fish oil. It is generally best to source fish oils that use smaller sized, oily fish such as sardines, anchovies, mackerel and herring because they have a lower life expectancy and a smaller body mass so they are exposed to less chemicals compared to bigger fish.
  • Question where the fish are sourced from. Fish that are sourced from cold water deep sea fish contain more monounsaturated fats (good fats) compared to fish that live in warmer waters and generally have a greater purity.
  • When sourcing fish oil always look at the concentration of the omega 3 fatty acids called Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).  EPA is more specific for fish oil’s natural anti-inflammatory effect and DHA is more specific for supporting brain and eye health. It is important to determine the concentration of these omega 3 fatty acids because they are responsible for exerting the health benefits associated with fish oil intake.
  • Always follow the allocated dosages on the label, unless otherwise prescribed by your healthcare professional because fish oils have many different dosages depending on what health benefit you wish to achieve. Examples of fish oil health indications include general health and wellbeing, arthritis, heart health, triglycerides and dosages specific for children and adults.
  • Ensure that the fish oil capsules have not been exposed to excessive sunlight or heat exposure. Always store fish oil capsules in a cool and dry place.