Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and sarcopenia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Loss of muscle mass is a normal consequence of aging, worsened by chronic illness, poor appetite and diet, and reduced physical activity in older adults. The ensuing decline in strength, endurance, balance, and mobility are a major cause of frailty, disability and death. Approximately half of the population over 60 years of age has a muscle mass between 1 and 2 standard deviations (~10-20%) below average young adult values and a further 5-10% has a muscle mass >2 standard deviations (greater than ~20%) below young adult values; ~20% of the older adult US population is functionally disabled. Treatments that can reverse or reduce the age-associated loss of muscle mass are therefore much needed. Adequate protein intake and physical activity, particularly resistance exercise training, is considered the treatment of choice for maintaining muscle mass and strength in older people because it is safe and the most powerful anabolic treatment available to date. Evidence is emerging that omega-3 fatty acid (n-3 FA) consumption may be important for maintenance of muscle mass and physical function throughout the life-span. The findings surrounding this topic and potential clinical implications will be reviewed and discussed in this chapter. Dietary supplementation with n-3 FA holds promise for the treatment of sarcopenia.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency Syndrome
Subtitle of host publicationOpportunities for Disease Prevention
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9781624177033
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


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