Study under review: 21 days of mammalian omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves aspects of neuromuscular function and performance in male athletes compared to olive oil placebo
Our brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system, which is in charge of directing bodily actions and movements. This occurs through the stimulation of motor nerves that are attached to muscle fibers. In essence, our brain decides how forcefully and how often our muscles contract, but the extent to which these commands are carried out depends on the relationship between the motor neurons and the muscles, or the neuromuscular system.
This concept is illustrated by the massive strength gains untrained individuals experience when they begin structured resistance training. While overt changes in muscle tissue appear with time, muscle growth cannot fully explain the strength gains experienced during the early phases of resistance training. Rather, alterations to motor unit activation and an increase in neuromuscular efficiency allow for a greater ability to generate force and resist fatigue.
Biologically, omega-3 fatty acids are an important component of nerve and muscle membranes that have been increasingly recognized for their role in the promotion of neuronal health. However, investigations into exercise adaptations have focused primarily on skeletal muscle, leaving nutritional modulation of the neuromuscular system relatively unexplored. The study under review was designed to determine if short-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has an ergogenic effect through adaptations in the neuromuscular system.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help promote strength gains, in part by improving communication between the nervous systems and muscles, which can ultimately influence muscle strength. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of short-term omega-3 supplementation on the neuromuscular system.
Other Articles in Issue #12 (October 2015)
Eat less, live more
Animal trials suggest that calorie restriction may extend lifespan. This is the longest human trial conducted thus far on the topic, and serves to inform calorie restriction’s health impacts and feasability.
Am I less hungry after I eats me spinach?
The gut is a hot weight loss topic, even aside from the microbiome -- some pharmaceutical drugs attempt to manipulate hormones or fat digestion in order to spur weight loss. What if an extract of spinach could also impact these factors?
Sugar Wars, Episode 2: “Fructose Strikes Back”
Few food components have been demonized as much as fructose in the past decade. With fructose being presumed guilty in metabolic syndrome and heart disease, this systematic review sheds light on it’s actual impact on blood lipids.
The case of the misleading yohimbe labels
What’s actually in a supplement bottle can be a mystery. These intrepid researchers investigated the actual contents of yohimbe bottles in order to see if this popular but possibly sometimes quasi-legal supplement is more (or less) than meets the eye.
- Interview: Robert Krikorian Ph.D.
Paying attention to omega-3s for ADHD
With more and more people being diagnosed with ADHD, there’s a continuing hunt for helpful treatments. Researchers tested an omega-3 supplement on young males, and also explored a potential dopamine-related mechanism.
- Interview: Trevor Kashey, Ph.D.
From jelly to muscle: collagen and body composition
Collagen has long been equated to junk protein, at least if you’re looking to gain muscle. Could it be underrated for this purpose? A trial of older men tested collagen protein to see if it could boost muscle gain and fat loss.
Throwdown, round 1: plant vs animal protein for metabolic syndrome
The DASH diet is frequently tested in clinical trials, and often performs well. But the diet’s formulation includes strong limitations on red meat, which may be based on outdated evidence. This study compared animal-protein rich diets with a typical DASH diet.