From Ergo Log
A diet that is relatively high in fish fatty acids is not only healthy, but also ergogenic. It raises the concentration of the anabolic hormone IGF-1 in the blood, according to an animal study at Texas Tech University, in which the researchers were actually trying to determine the anabolic effects of fish fatty acids on the skeleton.
Fish fatty acids contribute to a slimmer body by stimulating fat burning and inhibiting the build up of fat reserves. These effects have been shown in animal studies, test tube studies, experiments and human trials. From experiments on people with cancer we now know that fish-oil makes protein supplementation more effective and animal tests suggest that a diet containing fish oil helps muscle tissue to recover more quickly after training.
The Texans discovered yet another reason for athletes to take relatively higher doses of omega-3-fatty acids when they carried out an experiment in which they gave middle-aged rats a high-fat diet for twenty weeks. A fifth of the diet consisted of fats. The researchers gave one group mainly n-6 fatty acids, another group n-6 and n-3 fatty acids, and one group mainly n-3 fatty acids.
Bone mass declines as ageing progresses. This also happened to the rats. The speed at which the rats lost bone mass was however clearly lower in the fish-oil group [n-3] The table below shows how this happened. The n-3 diet raises the concentration of a series of anabolic hormones in the blood. We have highlighted the one that is most interesting for athletes.
A higher protein intake also leads to higher concentrations of IGF-1. Perhaps fish fatty acids and proteins work synergistically, and raise muscle manufacture levels together via IGF-1.
Br J Nutr. 2006 Mar;95(3):462-8.