Full-text resources of PSJD and other databases are now available in the new Library of Science.
Visit https://bibliotekanauki.pl


Preferences help
enabled [disable] Abstract
Number of results
2011 | 3 | 23-29

Article title

Omega-3 fatty acids and exercise: a review of their combined effects on body composition and physical performance


Title variants

Languages of publication



Omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids, and the long-chain n-3 derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in particular, have been extensively researched for their nutritive effects. Among their many purported benefits, n-3 acids have been implicated as positive mediators of cardiovascular health and body composition. It has therefore been speculated that supplementation may enhance the beneficial effects of physical activity, potentiating greater reductions in body fat and improvements in exercise performance. This paper has three objectives: first, to assess the theoretical basis for a synergistic ef-fect when n-3 supplementation is combined with exercise; second, to review the literature as to specific findings on the subject and third, to make relevant conclusions and recommendations for future research.







Physical description


1 - 1 - 2011
10 - 3 - 2011


  • Lehman College, Department of Health Sciences, The City University of New York, Bronx, NY, USA
  • Lehman College, Department of Health Sciences, The City University of New York, Bronx, NY, USA
  • School of Physical Education and Sport, Department of Training Science, Abant Izzet Baysal University, Bolu, Turkey


  • Albert C. M., H. Campos, M. J. Stampfer, P. M. Ridker, J. E. Manson, W. C. Willett, J. Ma (2002) Blood levels of long-chain n-3 fatty acids and the risk of sudden death. N. Engl. J. Med. 346:1113-1118.
  • Alexander J. W (1998) Immunonutrition: the role of omega-3 fatty acids. Nutrition 14:627-633.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Alexander J. W., H. Saito, O. Trocki, C. K. Ogle (1986) The importance of lipid type in the diet after burn injury. Ann. Surg. 204:1-8.
  • Bandini L. G., D. A. Schoeller, H. N. Cyr, W. H. Dietz (1990) Validity of reported energy intake in obese and non-obese adolescents. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 52: 421-425.
  • Bergeron K., P. Julien, T. A. Davis, A. Myre, M. C. Thivierge (2007). Long-chain n-3 fatty acids enhance neonatal insulin-regulated protein metabolism in piglets by differentially altering muscle lipid composition. J. Lipid. Res. 48:2396-2410.[Crossref]
  • Bodine, S. C., T. N. Stitt, M. Gonzalez, W. O. Kline, G. L. Stover, R. Bauerlein, E. Zlotchenko, A. Scrimgeour, J. C. Lawrence, D. J. Glass, G. D. Yancopoulos (2001) Akt/mTOR pathway is a crucial regulator of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and can prevent muscle atrophy in vivo. Nat. Cell. Biol. 3:1014-1019.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Brilla L. R., T. E. Landerholm (1990) Effect of fish oil supplementation and exercise on serum lipids and aerobic fitness. J. Sport Med. Phys. Fitn. 30:173-180.
  • Buckley J. D., S. Burgess, K. J. Murphy, P. R. Howe (2009) DHA-rich fish oil lowers heart rate during submaximal exercise in elite Australian Rules footballers. J. Sci. Med. Sport 12:503-507.[Crossref]
  • Calabresi L., N. Villa, M. Canavesi, C. R. Sirtori, R. W. James, F. Bernini, G. Franceschini (2004) An omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrate increases plasma high-density lipoprotein 2 cholesterol and paraoxonase levels in patients with familial combined hyperlipidemia. Metabolism 53:153-158.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Calder P. C. (2006) n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 83: 1505S-1519S.
  • Cartwright I. J., A. G. Pockley, J. H. Galloway, M. Greaves, F. E. Preston (1985) The effects of dietary ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on erythrocyte membrane phospholipids, erythrocyte deformability and blood viscosity in healthy volunteers. Atherosclerosis 55:267-281.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Clarke S. D. (2000) Polyunsaturated fatty acid regulation of gene transcription: a mechanism to improve energy balance and insulin resistance. Br. J. Nutr. 83:S59-S66.
  • Clarke S. D. (2001) Polyunsaturated fatty acid regulation of gene transcription: a molecular mechanism to improve the metabolic syndrome. J. Nutr. 131:1129-1132.
  • Clarke S. D., D. Jump (1997) Polyunsaturated fatty acids regulate lipogenic and peroxisomal gene expression by independent mechanisms. Prostaglandins Leukot. Essent. Fatty Acids 57:65-69.[Crossref]
  • Couet C., P. Delarue, J. M. Autoine, F. Lamisse (1997) Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 21:637-43.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Cunnane S. C., K. R. McAdoo, D. F. Horrobin (1986) n-3 Essential fatty acids decrease weight gain in genetically obese mice. Br. J. Nutr. 56:87-95.[Crossref]
  • Defina, L. F., L. G. Marcoux, S. M. Devers, J. S. Cleaver, B. L. Willis (2011) Effects of omega-3 supplementation in combination with diet and exercise on weight loss and body composition. Am J Clin Nutr. 93:455-462.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • DeLany J. P., M. M. Windhauser, C. M. Champagne, G. A. Bray (2000) Differential oxidation of individual dietary fatty acids in humans. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 72:905-911.
  • Diep Q. N., R. M. Touyz, E. L. Schiffrin (2000) Docosahexaenoic acid, a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha ligand, induces apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle cells by stimulation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Hypertension 36:851-855.[Crossref]
  • Dyerberg, J., H. O. Bang, E. Stofferson, S. Moncada, J. R. Vane (1978) Eicosapentaenoic acid and prevention of thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Lancet 2:117-119.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Fleischhauer F. J., W. D. Yan, T. A. Fischell (1993) Fish oil improves endothelium-dependent coronary vasodilation in heart transplant recipients. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. 21:982-989.[Crossref]
  • Fontani G., F. Corradeschi, A. Felici, F. Alfatti, R. Bugarini, A. I. Fiaschi, D. Cerretani, G. Montorfano, A. M. Rizzo, B. Berra (2005) Blood profiles, body fat and mood state in healthy subjects on different diets supplemented with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Eur. J. Clin. Invest. 35:499-507.[Crossref]
  • Galea G., R. J. L. Davidson (1985) Hemorrheology of marathon running. Int. J. Sports. Med. 6:136-138.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Gani O. A. (2008) Are fish oil omega-3 long-chain fatty acids and their derivatives peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor agonists? Cardiovasc. Diabetol. 20(7):6.[Crossref]
  • Gingras A. A., P. J. White, P. Y. Chouinard, P. Julien, T. A. Davis, L. Dombrowski, Y. Couture, P. Dubreuil, A. Myre, K. Bergeron, A. Marette, M. C. Thivierge (2007) Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids regulate bovine whole-body protein metabolism by promoting muscle insulin signalling to the Akt-mTOR-S6K1 pathway and insulin sensitivity. J. Physiol. 579:269-284.
  • Guezennec C. Y., J. F. Nadaud, P. Satabin, F. Leger, P. Lafargue (1989) Influence of polyunsaturated fatty acid diet on the hemorrheological response to physical exercise in hypoxia. Int. J. Sports Med. 10:286-291.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Hainault I., M. Carolotti, E. Hajduch, C. Guichard, M. Lavau (1993) Fish oil in a high lard diet prevents obesity, hyperlipidemia, and adipocyte insulin resistance in rats. Ann. NY. Acad. Sci. 683: 98-101.
  • Harris W. S. (1989) Fish oils and plasma lipid and lipo-protein metabolism in humans: a critical review. J. Lipid Res. 30:785-807.
  • Heller A, T. Koch, K. Schmeck, K. Van Ackem (1998) Lipid mediators in inflammatory disorders. Drugs 55:487-496.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Herrmann W., J. Biermann, G. M. Kostner (1995) Comparison of effects of N-3 to N-6 fatty acids on serum level of lipoprotein(a) in patients with coronary artery disease. Am. J. Cardiol. 76:459-462.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Hill A. M., J. D. Buckley, K. J. Murphy, P. R. C. Howe (2007) Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 85:1267-1274.
  • Holman R. T. (1998) The slow discovery of the importance of omega 3 essential fatty acids in human health. J. Nutr. 128:427S-433S.
  • Hu, F. B., L. Bronner, W. C. Willett, M. J. Stampfer, K. M. Rexrode, C. M. Albert, J. E. Manson (2002) Fish and omega-3 fatty acid intake and risk of coronary heart disease in women. JAMA 287:1815-1821.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Jones P. J. (1989) Effect of fatty acid composition of dietary fat on energy balance and expenditure in hamsters. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 67:994-998.[Crossref]
  • Jump D. B., S. D. Clarke, A. Thelen, M. Liimatta (1994) Coordinate regulation of glycolytic and lipogenic gene expression by polyunsaturated fatty acids. J. Lipid Res. 35:1076-1084.
  • Krebs J. D., L. M. Browning, N. K. McLean, J. L. Rothwell, G. D. Mishra, C. S. Moore, S. A. Jebb (2006) Additive benefits of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and weight-loss in the management of cardiovascular disease risk in overweight hyperinsulinaemic women. Int. J. Obes. 30:1535-1544.[Crossref]
  • Kummerow F. A. (1983) Modification of cell membrane composition by dietary lipids and its implications for atherosclerosis. Ann. NY. Acad. Sci. 414:29-43.
  • Kunesová M., R. Braunerová, P. Hlavatý, E. Tvrzická, B. Stanková, J. Skrha, J. Hilgertová, M. Hill, J. Kopecký, M. Wagenknecht, V. Hainer, M. Matoulek, J. Parízková, A. Zák, S. Svacina (2006) The influence of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and very low calorie diet during a short-term weight reducing regimen on weight loss and serum fatty acid composition in severely obese women. Physiol. Res. 55:63-72.[PubMed]
  • Leaf D. A., C. R. Rauch (1988) Omega-3 supplementation and estimated VO2 max: a double blind randomized controlled trial in athletes. Ann. Sport Med. 4:37-40.
  • Lemaitre R. N., I. B. King, D. Mozaffarian, L. H. Kuller, R. P. Tracy, D. S. Siscovick (2003) n-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids, fatal ischemic heart disease, and nonfatal myocardial infarction in older adults: the Cardiovascular Health Study. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 77:319-325.
  • Lenn J., T. Uhl, C. Mattacola, G. Boissonneault, J. Yates, W. Ibrahim, G. Bruckner (2002) The effects of fish oil and isoflavones on delayed onset muscle soreness. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 34:1605-1613.[Crossref]
  • Lin Q., S. E. Ruuska, N. S. Shaw, D. Dong, N. Noy (1999) Ligand selectivity of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha. Biochemistry 5(38):185-190.[Crossref]
  • Martins C., L. Morgan, H. Truby (2008) A review of the effects of exercise on appetite regulation: an obesity perspective. Int. J. Obes. 32:1337-1347.[Crossref]
  • Meydani S. N., S. Endres, M. M. Woods, B. R. Goldin, C. Soo, A. Morrill-Labrode, C. A. Dinarello, S. L. Gorbach (1991) Oral (n-3) fatty acid supplementation suppresses cytokine production and lymphocyte proliferation: comparison between young and older women. J. Nutr. 121:547-555.
  • Mori T. A., L. J. Beilin, V. Burke, J. Morris, J. Ritchie (1997) Interactions between dietary fat, fish, and fish oils and their effects on platelet function in men at risk of cardiovascular disease. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 17:279-286.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Mori T. A., G. F. Watts, V. Burke, E. Hilme, I. B. Puddey, I. J. Beilin (2000) Differential effects of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid on vascular reactivity of the forearm microcirculation in hyperlipidemic, overweight men. Circulation 102:1264-1269.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Nakamura, M. T., T. Y. Nara (2004) Structure, function and dietary regulation of Δ6, Δ5 and Δ9 desaturases. Ann. Rev. Nutr. 24:345-376.[Crossref]
  • Neschen S., K. Morino, J. Dong, Y. Wang-Fischer, G. W. Cline, A. J. Romanelli, J. C. Rossbacher, I. K. Moore, W. Regittnig, D. S. Munoz, J. H. Kim, G. L. Shulman (2007) n-3 Fatty acids preserve insulin sensitivity in vivo in a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha-dependent manner. Diabetes 56:1034-1041.[Crossref]
  • Noreen E. E., M. J. Sass, M. L. Crowe, V. A. Pabon, J. Brandauer, L. K. Averill (2010) Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults. J. Int. Soc. Sports Nutr. 8:7-31.
  • Okuno M, K. Kajiwara, S. Imai, T. Kobayashi, N. Honma, T. Maki, K. Suruga, T. Goda, S. Takase, Y. Muto, H. Moriwaki (1997) Perilla oil prevents the excessive growth of visceral adipose tissue in rats by down-regulating adipocyte differentiation. J. Nutr. 127:1752-1757.
  • Oomen C. M., E. J. Feskens, L. Räsänen, F. Fidanza, A. M. Nissinen, A. Menotti, D. Kromhout (2002) Fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality in Finland, Italy, and The Netherlands. Am. J. Epidemiol. 151:999-1006.
  • Oostenbrug G. S., R. P. Mensink, M. R. Hardeman, T. De Vries, F. Brouns, G. Hornstra (1997) Exercise performance, red blood cell deformability, and lipid peroxidation: effects of fish oil and vitamin E. J. Appl. Physiol. 83:746-752.
  • Parra D., A. Ramel, N. Bandarra, M. Kiely, A. Martínez, I. Thorsdottir (2008) A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. Appetite 51:676-680.[Crossref]
  • Parrish C. C., D. A. Pathy, A. Angel (1990) Dietary fish oils limit adipose tissue hypertrophy in rats. Metabolism 39: 217-219.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Paschos G. K., F. Magkos, D. B. Panagiotakos, V. Votteas, A. Zampelas (2007) Dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil lowers blood pressure in dyslipidaemic patients. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 61:1201-1206.[Crossref]
  • Pellizzon M., A. Buison, F. Ordiz Jr, L. Santa Ana, K. L. Jen (2002) Effects of dietary fatty acids and exercise on bodyweight regulation and metabolism in rats. Obes. Res. 10:947-955.[Crossref]
  • Peoples G. E., P. L. McLennan, P. R. Howe, H. Groeller (2008) Fish oil reduces heart rate and oxygen consumption during exercise. J. Cardiovasc. Pharm. 52:540-547.[Crossref]
  • Phang M., A. J. Sinclair, L. F. Lincz, M. L. Garg (2010) Gender-specific inhibition of platelet aggregation following omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Nutr. Metab. Cardiovasc. DOI:10.1016/j. numecd.2010.04.012.[Crossref]
  • Plourde M., S. C. Cunnane (2007) Extremely limited synthesis of long chain polyunsaturates in adults: implications for their dietary essentiality and use as supplements. Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 32:619-634.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Prasad K. (2009) Flaxseed and cardiovascular health. J. Cardiovasc. Pharmacol. 54:369-377.[Crossref]
  • Raastad T., A. T. Hostmark, S. B. Stromme (1997) Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation does not improve maximal aerobic power, anaerobic threshold and running performance in well trained soccer players. Scand. J. Med. Sci. Spor. 7:25-31.
  • Raclot T., R. Groscolas, D. Langin, P. Ferre (1997) Site-specific regulation of gene expression by n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in rat white adipose tissues. J. Lipid Res. 38:1963-1972.
  • Rissanen T., S. Voutilainen, K. Nyyssonen, T. A. Lakka, J. T. Salonen (2000) Fish oil-derived fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid and docosapentaenoic acid, and the risk of acute coronary events: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. Circulation 102:2677-2679.[PubMed][Crossref]
  • Robinson J. G., N. J. Stone (2006) Antiatherosclerotic and antithrombotic effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Am. J. Cardiol. 98:39i-49i.[Crossref]
  • Ryan A. M., J. V. Reynolds, L. Healy, M. Byrne, J. Moore, N. Brannelly, A. McHug, D. McCormack, P. Flood (2009) Enteral nutrition enriched with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) preserves lean body mass following esophageal cancer surgery: results of a double-blinded randomized controlled trial. Ann. Surg. 249:355-363.
  • Saynor R., V. Derel, T. Gillott (1984) The long-term effect of dietary supplementation with fish lipid concentrate on serum lipids, bleeding time, platelets and angina. Atherosclerosis 50:3-10.[Crossref]
  • Schacky, von C. (2007) n-3 PUFA in CVD: influence of cytokine polymorphism. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 66:166-170.[Crossref]
  • Schacky, von C., P. Angerer, W. Kothny, K. Theisen, H. Mudra, (1999) The effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on coronary atherosclerosis. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ann. Intern. Med. 130:554-562.
  • Schoeller D. A. (1995) Limitations in the assessment of dietary energy intake by self-report. Metabolism 44:18-22[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Smith G. I., P. Atherton, D. N. Reeds, B. S. Mohammed, D. Rankin, M. J. Rennie, B. Mittendorfer (2010) Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. (e-publ.).
  • Su W., P. J. Jones (1993) Dietary fatty acid composition influences energy accretion in rats. J. Nutr. 123(:2109-2114.
  • Sugden M. C., K. Bulmer, G. F. Gibbons, B. L. Knight, M. J. Holness (2002) Peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARalpha) deficiency leads to dysregulation of hepatic lipid and carbohydrate metabolism by fatty acids and insulin. Biochem. J. 1(364 Pt 2):361-368.
  • Suzukawa M., M. Abbey, P. R. Howe, P. J. Nestel (1995) Effects of fish oil fatty acids on low density lipoprotein size, oxidizability, and uptake by macrophages. J. Lipid Res. 36:473-484.
  • Szygula Z. (1990) Erythrocytic system under the influence of physical exercise and training. Sports Med. 10:181-197.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Tartibian B., B. H. Maleki, A. Abbasi (2009) The effects of ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids on perceived pain and external symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness in untrained men. Clin. J. Sport Med. 19:115-119.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Terano T., A. Hirai, T. Hamazaki, S. Kobayashi, T. Fujita, Y. Tamura, A. Kumagai (1983) Effect of oral administration of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid on platelet function, blood viscosity and red cell deformability in healthy human subjects. Atherosclerosis 46:321-331.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Thomas, G., M. N. Hall (1997) TOR signaling and control of cell growth. Curr. Opin. Cell Biol. 9:782-787.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Thorsdottir I., H. Tomasson, I. Gunnarsdottir, E. Gisladottir, M. Kiely, M. D. Parra, N. M. Bandarra, G. Schaafsma, J. A. Martinez (2007) Randomized trial of weight-loss diets for young adults varying in fish and fish oil content. Int. J. Obesity (London) 31:1560-1566.[Crossref]
  • Trebble T. M., S. A. Wootton, E. A. Miles (2003) Prostaglandin E2 production and T-cell function after fish-oil supplementation: response to antioxidant co-supplementation. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 78:376-382.
  • Walser B., R. M. Giordano, C. L. Stebbins (2006) Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augments brachial artery dilation and blood flow during forearm contraction. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 97:347-354.[Crossref]
  • Warner J. G., I. H Ullrich, M. J Albrink, R. A. Yeater (1989) Combined effects of aerobic exercise and omega-3 fatty acids in hyperlipidemic persons. Med. Sci. Sport Exerc. 21:498-505.
  • Whitehouse A. S., H. J. Smith, J. L. Drake, M. J. Tisdale (2001) Mechanism of attenuation of skeletal muscle protein catabolism in cancer cachexia by eicosapentaenoic acid. Cancer Res. 61:3604-3609.[PubMed]
  • Whitehouse A. S., M. J. Tisdale (2001) Downregulation of ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis by eicosapentaenoic acid in acute starvation. Biochem. Biophys. Res. 285:598-602.
  • Willumsen N., J. Skorve, S. Hexeberg, A. C. Rustan, R. K. Berge (1993) The hypotriglyceridemic effect of eicosapentaenoic acid in rats is reflected in increased mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation followed by diminished lipogenesis. Lipids 28: 683-690.[Crossref][PubMed]
  • Yamori, Y., Y. Nara, N. Iritani, R. J. Workman, T. Inagami (1985) Comparison of serum phospholipid fatty acids among fishing and farming Japanese populations and American islanders. J. Nutr. Sci. Vitaminol. (Tokyo) 31:417-422.[Crossref]
  • Yates A., J. Norwig, J. C. Maroon, J. Bost, J. M. Bradley, M. Duca, D. A. Wecht, R. Grove, A. Iso, I. Cobb, N. Ross, M. Borden (2009). Evaluation of Lipid Profiles and the Use of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid in Professional Football Players. Sports Health a Multidisciplinary Approach 1:21-30.
  • Zammit V. A. (1999) The malonyl-CoA-long-chain acyl-CoA axis in the maintenance of mammalian cell function. Biochem. J. 1(343 Pt 3):505-515.
  • Zhao G., T. D. Etherton, K. R. Martin, S. G. West, P. J. Gillies, P. M. Kris-Etherton (2004) Dietary alpha-linolenic acid reduces inflammatory and lipid cardiovascular risk factors in hypercholesterolemic men and women. J. Nutr. 134:2991-2997.

Document Type

Publication order reference


YADDA identifier

JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.