Fish oils 'help slow age decline'
10 September, 2012
Boston: The latest results from the team at Aberdeen build on findings from animal studies Moderate exercise, and a regular intake of oily fish fatty acids, keeps elderly immobility at bay, a study suggests.
Findings of a recent trial show that women aged over 65 who received omega-3 fatty acids gained almost twice as much muscle strength following exercise than those taking olive oil.
A larger trial is planned to confirm these findings and to determine why muscle condition improves. The findings are being presented at the British Science Festival in Aberdeen.
Some studies have linked diets high in omega-3 - commonly found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines - to potential health benefits, such as a lower risk of coronary heart disease.
During healthy ageing, muscle size is reduced by 0.5-2% per year. This process - known as sarcopenia - can result in frailty and immobility in old people.
Little is known about the prevalence of sarcopenia in the UK, but data from the US shows that 25% of people aged 50-70 have sarcopenia and this increases to more than half of those aged over 80 years.
According to Dr Stuart Gray from the University of Aberdeen, the cost of sarcopenia is immense; either in direct nursing and care costs or in hospital admissions through falls.
"Around one-and-a-half percent of the total US healthcare budget is spent on sarcopenia-related issues", he said.