Cocoa flavanols and fish oil omega-3 fatty acids are two bio-active nutrients that may improve muscle microvascular function, insulin sensitivity and mitochondrial function in older adults. We assessed changes in gene expression of these pathways in muscle from two nutritional intervention studies in older healthy volunteers: (i) 6-weeks daily fish oil supplementation in older females (3.4 g/d; age: 64.4 ± 0.8 y, BMI: 26.2 ± 0.7 kg/m2), and (ii) 7-day daily cocoa flavanol supplementation in older males (1050 mg/d; age: 70.1 ± 0.9 y, BMI: 25.7 ± 0.6 kg/m2). There was a main effect of 6-weeks fish oil supplementation on angiogenesis gene expression, with no overall changes in mitochondrial or insulin signaling genes. 7-day cocoa supplementation elicited changes in extracellular matrix (ECM) related genes. Thus, the effects of fish oil supplementation on vascular remodeling in skeletal muscle, and ECM remodeling with cocoa supplementation have emerged as areas for future study.
Keywords: Angiogenesis; Gene expression; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle.