Effects of the fish-oil supplementation on the immune and inflammatory responses in elite swimmers

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. Oct-Nov 2007;77(3-4):139-45. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2007.08.010. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


The effect of fish-oil supplementation (FO-S) on the immune responses of elite swimmers was investigated. In a randomized placebo-controlled trial, swimmers received either fish-oil capsules (n=10) containing long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (FA) of n-3 (LCPUFA n-3) or placebo capsules (n=10), both for 6 weeks. Plasma FA, immunological markers, insulin and cortisol were evaluated. The FO-S resulted in an increase in LCPUFA n-3 and a decrease in arachidonic n-6 FA in plasma and a reduction in the production of interferon-gamma by cultured cells. A reduction in the production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha was observed in both groups. An increase in interleukin-2 production and no significant difference in interleukin-4 were also observed. FO-S was able to attenuate the exercise-induced increases in prostaglandin E2. Circulating concentrations of insulin did not change, while cortisol and glucose showed increase after the study period. These results suggest that FO-S influence exercise-associated immune responses in competitive swimmers.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Interleukin-2 / blood
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Male
  • Swimming / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Unsaturated
  • Fish Oils
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Hydrocortisone