Prevention of Sports Injuries by Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids

J Am Coll Nutr. 2015:34 Suppl 1:60-1. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2015.1080533.


Sport injuries are common and costly for the professional athlete, the "weekend warrior," and the community. Acute injuries are treated according to current guidelines with the aim of bringing the athlete back into the arena. These guidelines have not taken into account new scientific results of the inflammatory process following a trauma. The 4 hallmarks of inflammation, namely, pain, swelling, redness, and heat, are results of an adequate inflammatory response with the aim of bringing the affected tissue back to restitution (Latin: restitutio ad integrum). Cooling of the affected limb and anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used but may deter healing. The healing process is governed by fatty acids of the omega-3 and omega-6 series. In order to facilitate healing, these fatty acids have to be present in significant amounts in the affected tissues before the trauma occurs. This is particularly relevant for marine omega-3 fatty acids, which are often running low due to insignificant intake of seafood, common in individuals practicing sports. High-energy sports often lead to head and brain trauma. Continuous head traumata may even result in later mental defects. Saturation of brain cells with omega-3 fatty acids, in particular docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), may facilitate healing after brain trauma, thereby counteracting negative long-term results. The present understanding of a normal inflammatory process leading to restitution will be discussed along with data from recent scientific trials.

Keywords: inflammation; omega-3 fatty acids; resolvins; sports injury.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Athletic Injuries / drug therapy
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / drug therapy
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / prevention & control*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Seafood*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-6