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Fitness - Fenugreek and omega-3 fish oil provide sports benefits

Fenugreek boosts muscle mass, strength

Fenugreek has over 100 phytochemicals that provide a range of health benefits. This sports study included 138 non-smoking men, aged 25 to 47, some healthy weight, some overweight. The men took a placebo, 300 mg, or 600 mg of fenugreek extract per day, while participating in a whole-body calisthenic program three times per week.

After eight weeks, all three groups had improved maximal leg-press weight, with both fenugreek groups improving more than placebo. The 600 mg group saw functional threshold power increase over placebo by 7.6 watts.

Also at eight weeks, compared to the start of the study, the 600 mg fenugreek group saw testosterone levels increase, body mass decrease by 2.6 pounds, body fat decline 1.4 percent, and lean muscle mass increase 1.8 percent.

Reference: Translational Sports Medicine; 2020, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2.153

Omega-3, inflammation, reaction time, and mood

This is the first systematic review of fish oil studies of recreational, professional, and Olympic-level athletes, covering 32 placebo-controlled trials. Participants were 25 years of age on average, and 70 percent were men. Doses ranged from 300 to 2,400 mg of EPA and 400 to 1,500 mg of DHA, per day.

The studies most often measured inflammation after exercise, which consistently showed fish oil reduced the inflammatory factors TNF-alpha, and creatine kinase. Fish oil also increased nitric oxide, a natural molecule that helps relax and dilate blood vessel linings, lowering blood pressure. Studies also evaluated cognition, which revealed positive effects on reaction time and mood states, across many different sports including cycling, gymnastics, karate, rugby, and soccer, among others.

Reference: Advances in Nutrition; May, 2020, nmaa050, Published Online

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