Could salmon help us maintain muscle tone in later life?

Fish oil benefits exercise Researchers looking for ways to slow the effects of ageing on muscle tone think they may have found the answer.  

Once we reach our mid-thirties, our muscles naturally begin to deteriorate at a rate of about 0.5% a year. The older we get, the harder it becomes to maintain tone and strength through exercise alone.

Results from a recent study suggest that the regular consumption of fish oil could help prevent this deterioration and as much as double the benefits of exercise in older age.

Researchers at Aberdeen University asked a group of women in their late sixties to take a 30-minute exercise class three times a week for 12 weeks. Half the group just took exercise, while the other half supplemented their exercise with regular doses of fish oil.

12 weeks later, all participants from both groups were tested on their muscle strength.

Those who completed the exercise regimes strengthened their muscle power by 11%, while those that took fish oil in addition to exercise increased their muscle power by 20%.

The Aberdeen researchers concluded that the Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil (specifically DHA and EPA) have anti-inflammatory properties that could help slow the deterioration of muscle mass and preserve tone.

Speaking at the British Science Festival, Dr Stuart Gray said: “We’re trying to make older muscle adapt like younger muscle, and that’s where we think fish oil can come in.”

Good sources of omega 3 include:

  • salmon
  • mackerel
  • sardines.

There are countless ways to incorporate plenty of oily fish into your diet in new and tasty ways. You could try fish pie, spicy Thai fish cakes, smoked mackerel salad, smoked salmon, or, if you feel like treating yourself – smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels sprinkled with chopped chives.

For information on how a nutritionist can help you devise tasty ways to maintain a healthy diet, please visit our list of Nutrition Topics.

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Written by Zoe Thomas
Written by Zoe Thomas
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