Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and skeletal muscle

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

2 Scopus citations


The long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which are commonly found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines or consumed as dietary supplements, are essential to the diet, but in the United States are consumed at well below recommended levels. Early studies focused on the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acid intake but more recent studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids may also positively affect muscle mass, strength, and physical function. For example, in cross-sectional studies higher intake of fatty fish has been associated with improved physical function and strength in older adult, and in prospective studies omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been found to increase lean body and muscle mass in older adults and attenuate muscle atrophy during cancer cachexia. This chapter will review results from studies examining omega-3 fatty acid-induced changes in muscle protein metabolism, body composition, and strength and function and provide recommendations for future studies where gaps in our knowledge exist.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNutrition and Skeletal Muscle
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128104224
ISBN (Print)9780128104101
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Cancer cachexia
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Lean body mass
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Muscle hypertrophy
  • Muscle protein breakdown
  • Muscle protein synthesis


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