How often do you hear people say that Omega 3 Fatty Acids are helpful to keep the heart healthy? Yet, little do people know that this common supplement that they often find in the drugstore can be their secret weapon to help build on muscles and prevent muscle loss during their downtime after an injury.
When recovering from an injury, it can be quite difficult to go back to your usual routine. Researchers of the study published in FASEB Journal says that the fatty acid may help in muscle repair and body recovery.
The study included a sample of 20 healthy young women divided into two groups. One group took a dose of 5-grams of sunflower oil supplement while the other took a dose of omega 3 supplements. The participants were then submitted to a scenario wherein they could just do the normal walking at home while their knees were wrapped around a brace. This basically mimics the kind of movements you can make after suffering from an injury.
After the period of immobilization, the participants were asked to return to their usual activities including exercise similar to that of a two-week recovery period. Researchers measure muscle mass of both groups and discovered that the Omega 3 supplement helped reduce muscle loss due to disuse. It slowed down the rate of muscle loss among participants compared to those who drank sunflower oil.
Participants who drank sunflower oil suffered a decrease in their muscle mass by 6% while those who took Omega 3 did not experience significant changes in their muscle mass at the end of the study. The researchers saw that the muscle mass and volume of Omega 3 participants has almost fully recovered to their pre-immobilization levels by the end of the 4-week trial.
"It must be because the Omega 3 helped increase muscle protein, which helped the body recover. In the process, it also helped rebuild the muscles lost during the injury," says Chris McGlory, Ph.D., of McMaster University in Canada.
While researchers are yet to discover the amount of Omega 3 to take to help in muscle recovery, they are looking at making an early recommendation that patients include foods that are a good source of Omega 3. Aside from its potentials in muscle recovery, Omega 3 helps the heart, lungs and joint health as well. It promises not to hurt your diet!