Supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid-enriched fish oil to mitigate skeletal muscle-disuse atrophy in older women
After the age of 50 years, we begin to lose muscle. This muscle loss has a variety of negative impacts on our health and ability to perform activities of daily living (e.g., climb stairs). Aging also reduces our muscle’s capacity to absorb sugar from the blood via insulin, resulting in high blood sugar levels, and the start of diabetic complications. Likewise, we know that periods of muscle-disuse, such as those experienced during hospitalization and immobilization, result in muscle loss and impaired blood sugar control. So, when an older person experiences periods of muscle-disuse, there is an additive effect on muscle loss and blood sugar control. Muscle-disuse and aging have an enormous impact on health care costs in Canada. However, there is evidence that consuming fish oil changes the type of fat in human muscle and might protect against disuse-induced muscle loss as well as the onset of diabetes. The aim of this team’s investigation is to examine if supplementing the diet of older people with fish oil before being immobilized is protective towards muscle loss and blood sugar control. The team will also examine if fish oil supplementation improves muscle mass and blood sugar control during recovery from immobilization. The team hopes that the findings from this study will help combat muscle loss and the onset of diabetic complications to improve the health of older adults.
"Funding from the Labarge Centre will assist with the development of nutritional strategies to promote musculoskeletal and metabolic health during periods of muscle-disuse, such as those experienced during illness and/or surgery."