Fish Oil Enhances Muscle Building


By Admin –

Consuming fish oil has recently over the years gained momentum. Mostly for its health related benefits such as, aiding digestion, boosting immune and cognitive function, protection against heart disease, increasing blood circulation, improving cholesterol, is a potent anti-inflammatory and many other positive benefits we simply don’t have the time to list! Apart from the above health reasons to supplement with fish oil or eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), why else would a bodybuilder or athlete wish to use fish oil? Its anabolic for a start, which means it can help with your muscle building program.

Research was conducted by the Musculoskeletal Research Programme, Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen in the UK to look more on how and why fish oil is anabolic. Prior to this study it is understood consuming a diet high in fish oil has a recompositioning effect, meaning; the body burns more body fat and put on more muscle mass, which sounds perfect for a bodybuilder or athlete.

The researchers in Aberdeen, Scotland, were curious about how fish fatty acids can have an anabolic effect, They then designed experiments with full grown C2C12 muscle cells from mice to try and work out the mechanism of action involved. They exposed the cells in test tubes to 50 micromols of the fish fatty acids DHA and EPA, and stimulated anabolism with the amino acid leucine.

The Scottish researchers then tested the build-up and breakdown of muscle cell protein. They found that the there was an increase of 25 percent of muscle cell protein built up, and 22 percent lower in the breakdown of muscle cell protein in the EPA group, compared to the control.

















The researchers then looked at the activity of anabolic signal molecules in the muscle cells. The figure below shows that EPA and DHA both activated P70sbk, but only EPA activated FOXO3a. The fish fatty acids had no effect on the other anabolic signal molecules that the researchers also examined: mTOR, Akt, 4EBP1 and rps6.








“Fish oil supplementation containing a higher proportion of EPA than DHA could be the most efficacious in improving protein accretion in response to anabolic stimuli such as L-leucine/resistance exercise and could attenuate protein breakdown in ageing skeletal muscle”, the researchers in Aberdeen conclude. “Further work in humans is clearly required to test this hypothesis.”


Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Mar 22;432(4):593-8.