Nutritional supplementation not only helps in improving and maintaining performance in sports and exercise, but also contributes in reducing exercise fatigue and in recovery from exhaustion. Fish oil contains large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA; 20:5 n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA; 22:6 n-3). It is widely known that omega-3 fatty acids are effective for improving cardiac function, depression, cognitive function, and blood as well as lowering blood pressure. In the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and exercise performance, previous studies have been predicted improved endurance performance, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses, and effectivity against delayed-onset muscle soreness. However, the optimal dose, duration, and timing remain unclear. This review focuses on the effects of omega-3 fatty acid on muscle damage and function as evaluated by human and animal studies and summarizes its effects on muscle and nerve damage, and muscle mass and strength.
Keywords: docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; muscle damage; muscle hypertrophy; muscle strength; n-3; neuromuscular function; omega3; unsaturated fatty acids.