Delayed muscle soreness (DOMS) is caused, in part, by muscle damage associated with the eccentric component of exercise and this muscle damage can result in an inflammatory response by the body. Fish oil rich in eicosapaetonic acid (EPA) and docosahexeoric acid (DHA) has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. However, studies have not investigated the impact of consuming a high dose of fish oil for a prolonged period of time on DOMS.
PURPOSE: To determine the effects of high dose fish oil supplementation on DOMS and the associated muscle inflammatory response.
METHODS: This study utilized a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. The control group (CON; 23.4 ± 2.3 yrs; 5M, 5F) consumed 3.45 g·day-1 of wheat germ oil (238 mg omega-3-fatty acids) and the experimental group (FO; 21.6±1.7 yrs; 5M, 5F) consumed 3.0 g·day-1 of fish oil (1395 mg EPA and 1125 mg DHA). Both groups consumed the supplements for a total of 65 days. On Day 60 of the supplementation period, participants performed eccentric muscle contractions at an angular velocity of 60°·sec-1 through 20° to 90° of knee flexion until exhaustion in order to induce DOMS. Perceived muscular soreness (visual analog scale (VAS) and algometer strain gauge (ASG)), muscle damage (creatine kinase (CK)), isometric strength, and muscle inflammatory markers (IL-1b, IL-6 and TNF-a) were measured before exercise and at 8, 24, 48, 72, 96 and 120 hrs post-exercise.
RESULTS: We found no significant differences between the CON and FO groups for VAS (CON: 2 ± 1, FO: 2 ± 1; P>0.05), ASG (CON: 7.5 ± 1.4, FO: 6.6 ± 1.4 kg; P>0.05), CK (CON: 167.21 ± 102.49, FO: 110.20 ± 102.51 IU·L-1; P>0.05), isometric strength (CON: 72.6 ± 27.2, FO: 68.5 ± 27.2 kg; P>0.05) and the muscle inflammatory markers (all P>0.05).
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that fish oil had no effect on inflammatory markers and the signs and symptoms of DOMS when compared to a placebo.
Supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline plc.