Impact of omega (ω)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) upon muscle health/function

Funded by Nutricia Research Foundation.

Collaboration with King's College London.

In collaboration with industry (Danone-Nutricia), this cross-faculty project will utilise inter-disciplinary expertise from FHSS and Institute of Aquaculture to advance scientific understanding regarding the biological role of omega (ω)-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3PUFA). This research aligns with UoS living well research theme and fits within two research programmes (Ageing and Dementia/Health and Behaviour). The clinical role of n-3PUFA in health is widely recognised (1-6). To fully establish the biological action of n-3PUFA, it is important to optimise dosing regimen. We showed that consuming high doses of n-3PUFA over 4 weeks (1) increased n-3PUFA incorporation into red blood cells to a comparable level as when others administered low n-3PUFA doses over longer periods (8-12 weeks (7)). No study has examined whether higher n-3PUFA doses modify the lipid composition of tissues, conferring earlier benefits for cardio-metabolic health. However, a sustained high dose regimen is less practical for humans. Therefore, we must understand whether a high initial incorporation of n-3PUFA into tissues can be sustained by transitioning to a lower maintenance feeding dose of n-3PUFA following an initial “priming” period. In study 1, we will conduct a human intervention trial to identify the optimal dosing regimen to maximise the incorporation of n-3PUFA into blood, muscle and adipose tissues. The prevalence of overweight/obesity in middle-aged/older adults continues to rise (8, 9). Weight loss results in declines of both fat- and muscle mass (10, 11). Consumption of a fatty fish diet promoted body mass loss (12), improved biomarkers of cardiovascular risk and increased muscle mass (13) in overweight young adults (14). However, no study has investigated the impact of dietary n-3PUFA on changes in body composition and muscle function during weight loss in middle-aged/older adults. We will fill this knowledge gap under free-living conditions using a field study design (study 2).

Total award value £60,000.00


Professor Stuart Galloway
Professor Stuart Galloway

Professor, Sport

Dr Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez
Dr Nidia Rodriguez-Sanchez

Lecturer in Physiology and Nutrition, Sport

Research themes