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Omega-3 fatty acids give hemodialysis patients more muscle

Hemodialysis patients often lose muscle mass. According to a study published in 2015 in PLoS One, a diet with relatively large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids and relatively small amounts of omega-6 fatty acids can prevent that. The more omega-3 fatty acids a dialysis patient consumes daily through his regular diet, the greater his muscle mass.

Omega-3 fatty acids & muscles
In young and healthy strength athletes the effect of a relatively high intake of omega-3 fatty acids on the muscles is modest. In studies, which usually take only a few weeks, the effect of supplementation is usually limited to less muscle pain after debilitating sessions. [J Diet Suppl. 2016 Jul 21:1-12. [Epub ahead of print].]

How omega-3 fatty acids protect your brain
But not-so-young people respond differently to omega-3 fatty acids. According to many studies, omega-3 fatty acids have a positive effect on the muscles in older people. Links to reports about these studies can be found at the bottom of this page.

In 2015, Taiwanese researchers affiliated with Taipei Medical University published an epidemiological study involving 111 people. The study participants had a severe kidney disease and had to undergo hemodialysis on a regular basis. In this group of people the loss of muscle mass is common, and the researchers wondered if a diet with a relatively large amount of omega-3 fatty acids could slow down muscle loss.

The more omega-3 fatty acids the study participants consumed daily through their regular diet, the more muscles they had.

Omega-3 fatty acids give hemodialysis patients more muscle

Omega-3 fatty acids give hemodialysis patients more muscle

The ratio between the daily intake of omega-6 fatty acids: omega-3 fatty acids was also a factor. The higher the ratio, the smaller the muscle mass of the study participants.

When the researchers started juggling statistics, they discovered that the correlations were the strongest for the muscles that the participants used most frequently: the appendicular skeletal muscle mass. That's the muscle mass in their legs and arms.

"In conclusion, we revealed the relationship between dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and muscle mass and demonstrated that dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are determinants of the muscle mass in hemodialysis patients", the researchers wrote.

"Certain conditions associated with hemodialysis, such as dialysis dose and cardiovascular disease, are negatively associated with muscle mass. In addition, the ratio of n-6:n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids is an independent risk factor for the loss of appendicular skeletal muscle mass."

"Based on our findings, increasing higher quantities of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the diet is one approach to normalizing higher ratio of n-6:n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, characteristic of the Western diet and the possible risk factor for muscle mass in hemodialysis patients."

"Although the mechanisms by which n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve and maintain muscle homeostasis remain unclear, based on the evidence based dietetic practice, our study introduces novel strategies to alleviate sarcopenia."

PLoS One. 2015 Oct 14;10(10):e0140402.

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Fish Oil

Medical study: protein builds more muscle mass with fish oil
An international research group gave protein supplements to two hundred people in hospital with cancer of the pancreas. The supplements worked better when N-3 fatty acid EPA was added to them.

Fish oil boosts muscle growth in elderly
Give elderly people 4 g of a pharmaceutical fish oil preparation every day for 8 weeks and their muscle tissue grows faster, if their blood contains high levels of glucose and amino acids.

Fish oil with high EPA stimulates muscle building
Athletes who want to build muscle mass can use not only proteins, creatine and amino acids, but also fish oils to achieve this.