Omega-3 may boost lung function during sports

March 09, 2010

     Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil capsules may improve lung function of athletes during and after exercise, suggests a new study from Germany and Iran with wrestlers. Amateur Iranian wrestlers 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.
     “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.
     The researchers recruited 40 non-smoking, amateur male wrestlers with an average age of 18.6 and an average BMI 23. 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), 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 % and FVC of 53 %, were obtained in the omega-3 supplements and training group and they also had improvements in 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. The study is published in the March 2010 issue of the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport