In a small study on the effects of the omega-3 oils eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), researchers have found that the oils appear to reduce muscle stiffness symptoms after exercise.
During the study, sixteen men were asked to perform six sets of 10 arm contractions using a dumbbell. Their range of motion, muscle soreness, muscle stiffness, and other markers were measured before the exercise, immediately afterward it, and then after one, two- and 5-days post-exercise.
Half of the group also took 600 mg of EPA and 260 mg of DHA every day for eight weeks before any measurements were made. The other half of the group were given a placebo. The results showed that EPA may increase range of motion after this type of exercise. The study also showed that muscle soreness and upper arm circumference also increase with EPA supplementation at this level, and that muscle stiffness at a contraction of 150 degrees may be significantly higher immediately after exercise when no EPA is taken.
The same laboratory has studied the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on motor nerve function and strength loss, with positive results. However, this is the first study to address the effect of EPA and DHA on muscle stiffness after this type of contraction.
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