Fish Oil may Improve Athletes’ Lung Function

Fish Oil may Improve Athletes’ Lung Function

fish oil

Researchers at a university in Iran recently published the results of a new study on omega-3 fish oil supplements.  Results of their study suggest that these supplements may improve the lung/respiratory function in athletes while training.  Specifically, their study focused on wrestlers.

No word yet if the results of this study have crossed the desk of Dana White of the UFC, but it’s possible that these result will generalize to athletes in other sports.

fish oil

***The experimental group took n-3 (Viva omega-3 fish oil, Canada), containing 180 mg EPA and 120 mg DHA to give a total of 1000 mg of n-3 fatty acids every day over 3 months.

In short, the test subjects consumed 1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids daily for three months in duration while they continued with their training program.


Results indicated that consuming omega-3 during 12 weeks training had a significantly positive effect on pulmonary variables such as FEV1, FVC, VC, MVV, FEF25-75, FIV1 (p=0.001), but no significant changes were observed in FEV1% (p=0.141) and FIV1% (p=0.117).

Basically, the test subjects experienced 20% greater improvements in their FVC (forced vital capacity- volume of air that can be forcibly exhaled after a maximum inspiration) and 10% greater improvements in their MMV (maximum voluntary ventilation – a measure of the maximum amount of air that can be inhaled and exhaled in one minute) compared to subjects who took a placebo.

Author Conclusions:

“These results also have far-reaching implications for coaches, trainers, and exercise physiologists who work and design training programs for amateur and professional wrestlers.”

Adding an omega-3 supplement to may be of interests to athletes who compete in sports particularly aerobic type events.  I would recommend finding a product that’s been independently tested for contaminants such as organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

***Of note, this study was independently funded by the University Of Iran Urmia research grants–not by the manufacturer of the omega-3 product used in the study.


  1. Tartibian B, Maleki BH, Abbasi A.  The effects of omega-3 supplementation on pulmonary function of young wrestlers during intensive training.  J Sci Med Sport. 2010 Mar;13(2):281-286. Epub 2009 Jun 12.
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