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The Effectiveness of Fish Oil Supplementation in Attenuating Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Females During Mid-Follicular and Mid-Luteal Menstrual Phases

McKinley-Barnard, Sarah K.1; Andre, Thomas L.2; Gann, Josh J.3; Hwang, Paul S.4; Willoughby, Darryn S.4

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: September 11, 2017 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002247
Original Research: PDF Only

The purpose of this study was to determine if the differences in estrogen levels during the female menstrual cycle and fish oil supplementation would attenuate eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD) and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In a double-blind fashion, 22 physically-active females (20.9 ± 1.4 years, 63.5 ± 9.0 kg, 165.2 ± 7.5 cm) were randomly assigned to ingest either 6 grams of fish oil (n = 11) or placebo (n = 11) daily for 21 days. Participants underwent an eccentric exercise bout of the knee extensors on two occasions during the mid-follicular (MF) and mid-luteal (ML) phases of the 28-day menstrual cycle. Prior to (PRE), at 6 (6HRPOST), and 24 hours post-exercise (24HRPOST) for each session, participants underwent assessments of DOMS, muscle strength, and had venous blood samples and muscle biopsies obtained. Data were analyzed utilizing a 2 x 2 x 3 repeated measures multivariate analyses of variance for each criterion variable (p ≤ .05). Further analysis of the main effects for Test was performed by separate one-way analyses of variance. DOMS was significantly greater at the 6HRPOST and 24HRPOST time points compared to PRE (p < .001). Superoxide dismutase and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) concentrations were significantly higher at the MF phase compared to the ML phase (p < .001 and p = .05, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences observed for muscle strength, myoglobin, NF-Kβ p50 or NF-Kβ p65. This study demonstrates that higher levels of estrogen may exert a cyto-protective effect on the sarcolemma.

1Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport; University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

2Department of Health and Fitness Management; Clayton State University, Marrow, Georgia

3Department of Kinesiology; University of Louisiana-Monroe, Monroe, Louisiana

4Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory, Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation; Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Corresponding Author: Darryn S. Willoughby Exercise and Biochemical Nutrition Laboratory Department of Health, Human Performance, and Recreation One Bear Place #97313 Baylor University Waco, Texas 76798-7313 Phone: 254-710-3504 Fax: 254-710-3527 Email:

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