Chronic supplementation of omega-3 can improve body composition and maximal strength, but does not change the resistance to neuromuscular fatigue



The present study aimed to determine whether supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid (N-3) contributes to improving body composition, strength performance, and neuromuscular fatigue resistance in physically active men.


The study was randomized, double–blind, and placebo controlled. 15 males were recruited and randomly assigned into two groups, N-3 supplementation (GN-3; N = 7) and placebo supplementation (GP; N = 8). Supplementation with N-3 or a placebo (safflower oil) was administered for 28-days at 1.4 g·day−1. During this period, physical activity was monitored (internal load = volume × perceived exertion scale). Before and after the supplementation period, body composition, one maximum repetition of knee extension (1RM), and maximum repetitions of knee extension with 70 % of 1RM load (RMs) pre and post an incremental running protocol until exhaustion were measured.


ANOVA two way (p < 0.05) revealed a decrease in body fat mass (GP before: 8.3 ± 2.1 kg × after: 7.7 ± 2.4 kg; GN-3 before: 12.8 ± 9.4 kg × after: 11.8 ± 9.3 kg), increase in lean mass (GP before: 61.8 ± 4.1 kg × after: 62.7 ± 3.9 kg; GN-3 before: 64.2 ± 5.8 kg × after: 66.2 ± 6.0 kg), and 1RM (GP before: 111.3 ± 29.1 kg × after: 111.3 ± 25.9 kg; GN-3 before: 115.0 ± 36.2 kg × after: 129.1 ± 39.9 kg) in the GN-3, without significant alterations in the GP and no interactions between-groups. Moreover, the absolute variation of the RMs pre and post the incremental running protocol were not significantly altered for both group (GP before: −1.1 ± 2.9 repetitions × after: −1.1 ± 2.6 repetitions; GN-3 before: −3.9 ± 2.9 repetitions × after: −5.0 ± 4.6 repetitions), with no interactions between-groups.


Four weeks of N-3 supplementation seems to improved body composition and maximal strength of knee extension, without influencing neuromuscular fatigue resistance.

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Correspondence to Fabio Milioni.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Research Committee of the UNISALESIANO-Catholic Center University (Protocol 867.319/2014) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in study.

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Crestani, D.M., Bonin, É.F.R., Barbieri, R.A. et al. Chronic supplementation of omega-3 can improve body composition and maximal strength, but does not change the resistance to neuromuscular fatigue. Sport Sci Health 13, 259–265 (2017).

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  • Weight lifting
  • Strength training
  • Neuromuscular fatigue