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Omega 3 Chia Seed Loading as a Means of Carbohydrate Loading

Illian, Travis G; Casey, Jason C; Bishop, Phillip A

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 1 - p 61-65
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181fef85c
Original Research

Illian, TG, Casey, JC, and Bishop, PA. Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. J Strength Cond Res 25(1): 61-65, 2011-The purpose of this study was to determine if Omega 3 Chia seed loading is a viable option for enhancing sports performance in events lasting >90 minutes and allow athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids. It has been well documented that a high dietary carbohydrate (CHO) intake for several days before competition is known to increase muscle glycogen stores resulting in performance improvements in events lasting >90 minutes. This study compared performance testing results between 2 different CHO-loading treatments. The traditional CHO-loading treatment served as the control (100% cals from Gatorade). The Omega 3 Chia drink (50% of calories from Greens Plus Omega 3 Chia seeds, 50% Gatorade) served as the Omega 3 Chia loading drink. Both CHO-loading treatments were based on the subject's body weight and were thus isocaloric. Six highly trained male subjects (V̇O2max 47.8-84.2 ml·kg−1; mean (SD) of V̇O2max 70.3 ml·kg−1 (13.3) performed a 1-hour run at ∼65% of their V̇O2max on a treadmill, followed by a 10k time trial on a track. There were 2 trials in a crossover counterbalanced repeated-measures design with a 2-week washout between testing sessions to allow the participants to recover from the intense exercise and any effects of the treatment. There was no statistical difference (p = 0.83) between Omega 3 Chia loading (mean 10k time = 37 minutes 49 seconds) and CHO loading (mean = 37 minutes 43 seconds). Under our conditions, Omega 3 Chia loading appears a viable option for enhancing performance for endurance events lasting >90 minutes and allows athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids but offered no performance advantages.

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, The University of Alabama, Auburn, Alabama

Address correspondence to Travis G. Illian,

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association