Soccer and omega-3


In soccer, the players perform intermittent work, performing low-intensity activities for more than 70% of the game, but also around 150-250 brief intense actions. In addition to a high aerobic capacity, soccer players need to accelerate and decelerate, to perform rapid changes of direction movements and sprinting. Players have to develop high muscle force in actions such as takling, kicking, heading and jumping. Given the physical demands of soccer match-play, players often experience eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage (a eccentric muscle action is a lengthening of the muscle while contracting, for example, when changing direction).
The addition of omega-3 long chain fatty acids (the main are EPA and DHA) to a beverage containing whey protein, leucine and carbohydrate ameliorates the increase in muscle soreness and blood concentrations of creatine kinase following eccentric exercise in competitive soccer players (an elevated level of creatine kinase is seen in heart attacks, when the heart muscle is damaged, or in conditions that produce damage to the skeletal muscles or brain).
This finding may be generalized to other similar sports and should be taken into account when planning the nutritional strategies of players.


Philpott JD, Donnelly C, Walshe IH, et al. Adding Fish Oil to Whey Protein, Leucine and Carbohydrate Over a 6 Week Supplementation Period Attenuates Muscle Soreness Following Eccentric Exercise in Competitive Soccer Players. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2017 Sep 5:1-28.

Bangsbo J, Mohr M, Krustrup P. Physical and metabolic demands of training and match-play in the elite football player. J Sports Sci. 2006;24(7):665-74.