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Walking Speed Related to Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Antioxidants

The Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging recently reported that omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants support physical performance in post-menopausal women. Based on a recent clinical trial, fish oil intake affects the walking speed which is considered to be the most important predictor of adverse health events in older adults.

In a recent  clinical trial, researchers assigned 126 post-menopausal women to receive two fish oil capsules consisting of 1.2 grams eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), or to receive two placebo capsules of olive oil on a daily basis for six months. The subjects in both groups also received calcium and vitamin D supplementation. The investigators assessed fatty acid levels, frailty, hand-grip strength, walking speed, body composition, medical history and co-morbidities, nutrient intake including selenium and vitamin C and inflammatory biomarkers including tumor necrosis factor-alpha at the beginning of the study and again after six months.

The investigators determined that the subjects with greatest red blood cell DHA and DHA/arachidonic acid ratio were less frail at the beginning of the study. Fish oil supplementation resulted in higher red blood cell DHA and lower arachidonic acid compared to levels at the beginning of the study and compared to levels in the placebo group. More importantly, fish oil supplementation was associated with improved walking speed compared to the placebo group. The researchers found that change in DHA/arachidonic acid ratio and tumor necrosis factor-alpha and selenium intake had the greatest contribution to change in walking speed.

The investigators concluded, “Physical performance, measured by change in walking speed, was significantly affected by fish oil supplementation. Dietary intake ofantioxidants (selenium and vitamin C) and changes in tumor necrosis factor-alpha also contributed to change in walking speed suggesting long chain polyunsaturated fattyacids may interact with antioxidants and inflammatory response to impact physical performance.”


Hutchins-Wiese HL, et al. J Nutr Health Aging. 2013;1:76-80.


Health Tips On the Go!

Improve Posture

  • 1.Avoid slouching. Be aware of your posture as you walk, sit, and drive, keep shoulders squared and head pulled back and up.

  • 2.Imagine a thread pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. Visualization can help improve your sense of position.

  • 3.If your job requires you to sit for long periods, take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and shake it out.

  • 4.Maintain a strong core to help support proper posture. Add core-training exercises to your daily routine.

  • 5.A firm mattress and ergonomic pillow help achieve proper back support while you sleep, so you'll stand straighter in the a.m.

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