Adding fish oil to a protein-based supplement had a beneficial effect on rugby players training


Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have anti-inflammatory effects, that is why its use in sport has been investigated in various studies. Scientific evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (EPA plus DHA) may ameliorate the functional changes following exercise-induced muscle damage (especially after eccentric exercise and resistance training): muscle soreness, development of delayed-onset muscle soreness, muscle swelling, limited range of motion, and strength loss after exercise. In general, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation could provide post-exercise benefits by minimizing these symptoms of muscle damage and thereby facilitate training in athletes undergoing heavy training.

In one study of 20 professional rugby players during pre-season training, with the purpose to investigate the effectiveness of consuming a protein-based supplement containing omega-3 fatty acids (EPA plus DHA) compared to a protein-based supplement on muscle soreness, countermovement jumps performance and psychological well-being, the athletes completed questionnaires assessing soreness, fatigue, sleep, stress and mood each morning of training; besides, they performed countermovement jump tests.

Adding fish oil (EPA plus DHA) to a protein-based supplement had a beneficial effect on muscle soreness, and this resulted in a better maintenance of explosive power. Explosive power training exercises are often used by athletes who need to generate a quick burst of maximal effort, such as movements required in football, court sports, cycling, etc. These types of exercises are movements that require a maximum or near maximum power output from the athlete in a short amount of time.

In conclusion, adding EPA plus DHA to a protein-based supplement for 5 weeks during pre-season training had beneficial effects on muscle soreness in a group of elite rugby players, and this translated into a better maintenance of explosive power.


Black KE, Witard OC, Baker D, Healey P, Lewis V, Tavares F, et al. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to a protein-based supplement during pre-season training results in reduced muscle soreness and the better maintenance of explosive power in professional Rugby Union players. Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Jul 9:1-11. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1491626. [Epub ahead of print]

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