The Effects of Dietary Omega-3s on Muscle Composition and Quality in Older Adults

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This review will focus on findings from the few studies performed to date in humans to examine changes in muscle protein turnover, lean or muscle mass, and physical function following fish oil-derived omega-3 fatty acid treatment. Although considerable gaps in our current knowledge exist, hypertrophic responses (e.g., improvements in the rate of muscle protein synthesis and mTOR signaling during increased amino acid availability and an increase in muscle volume) have been reported in older adults following prolonged (8 to 24 weeks) of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. There is also accumulating evidence that increased omega-3 fatty acid levels in red blood cells are positively related to strength and measures of physical function. As a result, increased omega-3 fatty acid consumption may prove to be a promising low-cost dietary approach to attenuate or prevent aging-associated declines in muscle mass and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-105
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Nutrition Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Fish oil
  • Muscle protein breakdown
  • Muscle protein synthesis
  • mTOR


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