DHA Helps Build and Maintain Muscle

Monday, June 17, 2013
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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Add muscle rejuvenation to the list of benefits attributable to the essential fatty acid DHA. The finding is particularly relevant for anyone interested in healthy anti-aging, as well as anyone seeking healthy ways to build muscle from exercise.

This animal study examined precise molecular mechanisms to document the muscle growth benefits of DHA. The researchers showed that enriching the diet of pigs with DHA enhanced the rate of muscle protein synthesis. 

DHA turned on the key gene signal, mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), involved with the body’s natural processes of rejuvenation (anabolic processes). This enabled growth hormone and insulin signaling to work properly in the synthesis of new muscle protein. These mechanisms of operation are essential to the preservation of muscle during aging, as well as the building of muscle at any age, indicating that DHA works in harmony with dietary protein for muscular health.

Additionally, DHA lowered NF-kappaB in muscles, decreasing inflammation and thereby enhancing the rate at which new muscle protein can form.

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