Effectiveness of Fish Oil Supplementation in Attenuating Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage in Women During Midfollicular and Midluteal Menstrual Phases

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McKinley-Barnard, SK, Andre, TL, Gann, JJ, Hwang, PS, and Willoughby, DS. Effectiveness of fish oil supplementation in attenuating exercise-induced muscle damage in females during midfollicular and midluteal menstrual phases. J Strength Cond Res 32(6): 1601–1612, 2018—The purpose of this study was to determine whether the differences in estrogen levels during the female menstrual cycle and fish oil supplementation would attenuate eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage and delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). In a double-blind fashion, 22 physically active females (20.9 ± 1.4 years, 63.5 ± 9.0 kg, 165.2 ± 7.5 cm) were randomly assigned to ingest either 6 g of fish oil (n = 11) or placebo (n = 11) daily for 21 days. Participants underwent an eccentric exercise bout of the knee extensors on 2 occasions during the midfollicular (MF) and midluteal (ML) phases of the 28-day menstrual cycle. Before (PRE), at 6 (6HRPOST), and at 24 hours postexercise (24HRPOST) for each session, participants underwent assessments of DOMS, muscle strength, and had venous blood samples and muscle biopsies obtained. Data were analyzed using a 2 × 2 × 3 repeated-measures multivariate analysis of variance for each criterion variable (p ≤ 0.05). Further analysis of the main effects for the test was performed using separate 1-way analyses of variance. Delayed-onset muscle soreness was significantly greater at the 6HRPOST and 24HRPOST timepoints compared with PRE (p < 0.001). Superoxide dismutase and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) concentrations were significantly higher at the MF phase compared with the ML phase (p < 0.001 and p = 0.05, respectively). There were no statistically significant differences observed for muscle strength, myoglobin, NF-Kβ p50, or NF-Kβ p65. This study demonstrates that higher levels of estrogen may exert a cytoprotective effect on the sarcolemma.

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