Running on Fish Oil: Benefits of Omega-3 Supplementation and Exercise

Presenter: Alison Hill at the 2006 ISSFAL Meeting in Cairns, Australia

Institution: Nutritional Physiology Research Centre, University of South Australia and University of Adelaide, Australia

Allison Hill reported this morning, at the ISSFAL (International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids & Lipids) Congress in Cairns, Australia, new research findings on adjunct supplementation with fish oil in obese or overweight subjects (25

– 65 years old) assigned to a regular exercise regimen. At entry, the 75 men and women, who also had two cardiovascular disease risk factors such as hypertension, elevated blood cholesterol or triglyceride, participated in a double – blind trial of 12 weeks in duration.

The participants were assigned to either daily supplementation with vegetable oil with or without an exercise regimen or daily fish oil supplementation (providing 2 grams of DHA/EPA omega-3 fatty acids) with orwithout exercise. The moderate exercise program as assigned to half the subjects consisted of three running sessions per week for 45 minutes each at 75% of their age-predicted maximum heart rate.

Body compositions as increased by Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry revealed that the only group to exhibit a significant reduction in % body fat was that combining exercise with fish oil supplementation. This improvement appeared to reflect an enhanced fat oxidation during exercise.

The fish oil plus exercise regimen also gave a lessened surge in the heart rate rise with exercise which was attributed to a reduced vascular resistance and an improved blood flow in exercising muscles.

This novel research indicates the potential for fish oil supplementation to enhance the efficacy of exercise programs in overweight subjects.

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