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Omega-3s may help older adults build muscle

Fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids are traditionally used to support heart health, but new research has discovered another great benefit—omega-3s may improve insulin resistance and have a positive effect on muscle mass.

Canadian researchers found that omega-3s accelerated protein synthesis in aging cattle by increasing the activity of mTOR (a critical compound in muscle), as well as insulin, both of which are sensitive to small changes in energy status. mTOR has a direct effect on protein synthesis and the appetite control center of the brain.

Omega-3s stimulate mTOR, which in turn inhibits hunger sensations and prevents protein breakdown. Since cells become insulin resistant with age, this new research is important for humans, especially those between the ages of 40 and 60, a time when most people lose 20 percent of their muscle mass. Omega-3s may improve insulin resistance, which helps older adults build and sustain muscle. Fatty acids may also help younger adults and athletes increase muscle mass. 

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