Fish oil improves effect of BCAA supplementation on muscle function: Study

Citing previous research into the effects of BCAA supplementation on muscle recovery under a range of conditions, the study authors hypothesize that “combined BCAA and fish oil supplementation would have greater beneficial effects on the muscle damage after eccentric contractions (ECCs) compared with supplementation of either one alone.”

The research, published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition​, was developed with support from the Nippon Suisan Kaisha fishing company.

Fish oil and muscle recovery

Fish oil, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), has been shown to lessen muscle soreness and improve strength and range of motion, possibly due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the omega-3 fatty acids.

“As for the mechanisms of the observed effects, it has been suggested that fish oil is incorporated into phospholipids, which are a major component of the cell membrane, and thereby inhibit the effects of inflammation and reactive oxygen species,”​ the researchers explained, adding that this follow-up study is the first to investigate the combined effects of BCAA and fish oil on muscle damage. 

Previous studies from the same research team indicate that supplementation with fish oil alone over eight weeks “attenuates reductions in muscle strength and range of motion and increases in muscle soreness, creatine kinase and muscle stiffness following exercise involving ECCs.”

Study details 

The double-blind, parallel study recruited 29 untrained young men and randomly assigned them to a placebo group, a BCAA supplement group and a combined BCAA and fish oil group.  Previous studies largely demonstrate positive effects of BCAA supplementation on muscle recovery in participants who had undergone resistance training. 

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