Sporting performance, an added benefit of omega-3 supplementation for athletes


Nutrition has a decisive influence on our physical capacity, metabolism and sporting performance. Numerous properties of omega-3 fatty acids have already been known for some time, but ongoing research is constantly producing new findings on their benefits in different aspects of human health.

An article published by Italian investigators in the scientific journal ‘Nutrients’ underlines the importance of omega-3 in diet, focussing especially on its potential effects in sporting performance.

The authors explain that polyunsaturated fatty acids are responsible for numerous cell functions and are involved in the regulation of the nervous system, blood pressure, coagulation, glucose tolerance and inflammatory processes, among others.

Sport and omega-3

In terms of sport, the Italian investigators note in their review that omega-3 also influences muscle metabolism. And this occurs not only with regard to exercise and the way muscles respond to physical activity, that means,sporting performance.  But, omega-3 also influences in how the body regains physical capacity after a period of training.

Furthermore, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can provide health benefits and improve the physical capacity of athletes. It should be borne in mind that athletes go through cycles of physiological stress accompanied by transitory inflammation, oxidative stress and immune problems, all disorders that influence nutrition.

According to the authors, all this can be counteracted by omega-3 and other nutrients, such as vitamins, polyphenols and probiotics, although omega-3 appears to be among the most useful supplements. They conclude that ‘nutritional strategies and supplements such as omega-3 can result in optimum improvement in training, better recovery, lower risk of disease and high-level competitive performance’.



Gammone MA, Riccioni G, Parrinello G, D’Orazio N. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients. 2018 Dec 27;11(1). pii: E46. doi: 10.3390/nu11010046.

Jeromson S, Gallagher IJ, Galloway SD, Hamilton DL. Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Skeletal Muscle Health. Mar Drugs. 2015 Nov 19;13(11):6977-7004. doi: 10.3390/md13116977.

Anzalone A, Carbuhn A, Jones L, Gallop A, Smith A, Johnson P, Swearingen L, Moore C, Rimer E, McBeth J, Harris W, Kirk KM, Gable D, Askow A, Jennings W, Oliver JM. The Omega-3 Index in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Collegiate Football Athletes. J Athl Train. 2019 Jan 15. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-387-18.