Evidence suggests that ω-3 fatty acids (FA) may have an anabolic effect on skeletal muscle. However, questions about dosage, frequency, combined protein supplementation, or different physical exercises remain unanswered. The aim of this study was to quantify by stereology whether supplementation with high dosages of ω-3 FA combined with swimming has an anabolic effect on the skeletal musculature and on the lipid profile of rats.
Sixty male Wistar rats were divided into four groups: placebo sedentary (PS), ω-3 FA sedentary (ω-3 S), placebo exercise (PE), and ω-3 FA exercise (ω-3 E). The animals in the PE and ω-3 E groups were submitted to swimming 5 d/wk, with an overload of 15% of body weight. The animals received ω-3 FA or olive oil (placebo) by gavage. After sacrifice, blood samples and the gastrocnemius muscle were collected for analysis.
Results from this study did not show a difference in the cross-sectional areas of the gastrocnemius muscle between groups. The administration of high doses of ω-3 FA reduced plasmatic concentrations of low-density lipoprotein. Additionally, an interaction effect was observed between physical exercise and supplementation with ω-3 on levels of high-density lipoprotein. Therefore, the association between these two treatments increased high-density lipoprotein levels.
The administration of high doses of ω-3 associated with physical activity may be beneficial in the treatment of dyslipidemia. High doses of ω-3 FA do not cause muscle mass alteration.
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