Study Reviews

Omega-3 in the treatment of sarcopenia

  • 05/06/2016

The UN estimates that in 2050, 16% of the population will be aged 65 or over (it is currently 8%). The rise in life expectancy makes prolonging the time of life in conditions of independence important. One of the reasons for loss of independence in the elderly is sarcopenia, defined by the European Working Group on Sarcopenia in Older People Algorithm as loss of muscle mass, strength and physical performance. One of the risk factors for sarcopenia is malnutrition.

Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, B-group vitamins and antioxidants are key factors in the treatment of sarcopenia, with or without associated exercise.

The Maastricht Sarcopenia Study included 227 adults ≥ 65 years old, of whom 53 met the criteria for sarcopenia. Data on diet were collected using a questionnaire on frequency of food and use of dietary supplements. Sarcopenics and non-sarcopenics were compared with regard to the consumption of nutrients and serum status of 25-hydroxy vitamin D, magnesium, α-tocopherol, cholesterol, plasma homocysteine and red blood cell profile in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The sarcopenic group showed consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin E and magnesium 10%-18% lower (P < 0.05) than the non-sarcopenic group. And when supplement consumption is included in the analysis, then the sarcopenia group consumed 19% fewer omega-3 fatty acids than the non-sarcopenic group (P=0.005).

In adult sarcopenics, dietary supplementation with omega-3 could reduce deficiency in these acids.

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