Omega 3 Fish Oil + Strength Training Improves Immune Function For Women

By: Starkie Sowers

A recent study done in Brazil at Parana Federal University and Pequeno Principe Research Institute included 45 females (average age 64 yrs.). The study compared Omega 3 fatty acids, versus omega 3 fatty acids and exercise. Including the exercise seemed to enhance the ‘aging’ immune system. It is well noted that the immune system in later years changes or morphs into a less efficient immune system. This makes the elderly more susceptible to infection, autoimmune, chronic and or malignant diseases. Physical activity and diet have been shown to have a moderating effect on immune function. Excessive exercise has been shown to increase inflammation while moderate exercise increases T-cells immune response.

This study had three groups; the first group had no exercise and used supplemental omega 3 fatty acids 2 grams a day for 90 days. Group 2 used the same 2 g. a day coupled with strength training exercises, and finally the last group used 2 g. of fish oil for 60 days with no exercise then followed with another 90 days of 2 g. of fish oil and strength training. All strength training was three days a week.

Various immune parameters were assayed before the supplementation test as well as before and after training. Results showed improved immune function for all fish groups. It showed increasing activity of neutrophils (white blood cells), CD-4 and CD-8 lymphocytes which fight infection and the production of cytokines. Production of cytokines IL-2 and IFN-g., small proteins that fight infection, increased after supplementation by 80% of IL-2, and 60% of IFN-g. Also there was an increase by 85% and 88% respectively with the supplementation and exercise groups.

Strength training with supplementation out shined the supplementation alone group. While these results were very favorable larger groups and further screening is needed to confirm the results. Diet assessment was recorded with a diary, and the authors noted no changes in diet.