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Eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids-rich fish oil supplementation attenuates strength loss and limited joint range of motion after eccentric contractions: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial

PainSci » bibliography » Tsuchiya et al 2016
Tags: nutrition, DOMS, self-treatment, treatment, exercise, inflammation, pain problems, muscle

Two articles on PainSci cite Tsuchiya 2016: 1. A Deep Dive into Delayed-Onset Muscle Soreness2. Vitamins, Minerals & Supplements for Pain & Healing

PainSci notes on Tsuchiya 2016:

This was a test of the effect of eight weeks of fish oil supplementation on recovery from weight lifting in 24 men. The researchers measured outcomes in many ways. Although they observed some benefits, the results were modest, and only for range of motion and strength, not for pain (or several other measures, such as various blood test results). There were an assortment of isolated minor wins for fish oil — e.g. less pain on day 3 after the exercise — but that’s to be expected in any set of data (especially when it comes from a group of subjects this small).

Nevertheless, the apparent effect of fish oil supplementation on strength and ROM recovery is noteworthy. I’d say the take-home message is to eat more fish, rather than fish oil in capulses — because there’s plenty of evidence that actual fish are better for you than fishy pills.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

PURPOSE: This study investigated the effect of eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids-rich fish oil (EPA + DHA) supplementation on eccentric contraction-induced muscle damage.

METHODS: Twenty-four healthy men were randomly assigned to consume the EPA + DHA supplement (EPA, n = 12) or placebo (PL, n = 12) by the double-blind method. Participants consumed EPA + DHA or placebo supplement for 8 weeks prior to exercise and continued it until 5 days after exercise. The EPA group consumed EPA + DHA-rich fish oil containing 600 mg EPA and 260 mg DHA per day. Subjects performed five sets of six maximal eccentric elbow flexion exercises. Changes in the maximal voluntary contraction (MVC) torque, range of motion (ROM), upper arm circumference, muscle soreness as well as serum creatine kinase, myoglobin, IL-6, and TNF-α levels in blood were assessed before, immediately after, and 1, 2, 3, and 5 days after exercise.

RESULTS: MVC was significantly higher in the EPA group than in the PL group at 2-5 days after exercise (p < 0.05). ROM was also significantly greater in the EPA group than in the PL group at 1-5 days after exercise (p < 0.05). At only 3 days after exercise, muscle soreness of the brachialis was significantly greater in the PL group than in the EPA group (p < 0.05), with a concomitant increase in serum IL-6 levels in the PL group.

CONCLUSION: Eight-week EPA + DHA supplementation attenuates strength loss and limited ROM after exercise. The supplementation also attenuates muscle soreness and elevates cytokine level, but the effect is limited.

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