Preventing Age-Related Muscle Atrophy


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DISCLAIMER: In this article/blog you are going to learn about how a quality omega-3 supplement can help you preserve skeletal muscle. However, not all omega-3 supplements are created equal. If you would like to learn more about the omega-3 supplement and the Omega-3 Index Test endorsed by Robert Ferguson, click here to schedule a free consultation or send an email to Lori B at Do not assume your fish oil or omega-3 supplement works, because they are not all created equal.

As the population ages, maintaining muscle mass and strength becomes a crucial aspect of promoting health and independence among older adults. Disuse atrophy, the loss of muscle mass and function due to inactivity or reduced physical activity, poses a significant challenge. Recent research indicates that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids might offer a promising strategy to combat this issue, providing new hope for enhancing the quality of life in the elderly.

Understanding Disuse Atrophy

Disuse atrophy occurs when muscles are not used adequately, leading to a decline in muscle mass and strength. This condition is particularly prevalent among older adults due to a more sedentary lifestyle, extended bed rest, or reduced physical activity from health issues. The resulting muscle weakness can severely impact mobility, increase the risk of falls, and diminish overall quality of life.

The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are essential fats found in fish oil and some plant sources. They are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties and their role in cardiovascular health. However, emerging research suggests that they may also play a crucial role in muscle metabolism and preservation.

Recent Study Findings

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition explored the effects of omega-3 supplementation on preventing disuse atrophy in older adults. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study involved participants aged 65 and older who were subjected to a period of reduced physical activity to simulate disuse atrophy.

Participants were divided into two groups: one received a daily omega-3 supplement (containing a blend of EPA and DHA), while the other received a placebo. Muscle mass, strength, and inflammatory markers were measured before and after the intervention.

Key Outcomes

The study yielded compelling results:

  1. Preservation of Muscle Mass: Participants who received omega-3 supplements showed a significantly smaller reduction in muscle mass compared to the placebo group. This suggests that omega-3s may help mitigate muscle loss during periods of inactivity.
  2. Maintenance of Muscle Strength: In addition to preserving muscle mass, the omega-3 group also demonstrated less decline in muscle strength, highlighting the functional benefits of supplementation.
  3. Reduction in Inflammatory Markers: Elevated inflammation is a known contributor to muscle degradation. The study found that omega-3 supplementation led to a reduction in inflammatory markers, suggesting a potential mechanism by which these fatty acids exert their protective effects on muscle tissue.

Implications for Older Adults

These findings are particularly relevant for older adults, who are more susceptible to disuse atrophy due to lifestyle and health changes. Incorporating omega-3 supplements into their diet could offer a relatively simple and effective strategy to maintain muscle health, especially during periods when physical activity is limited.

Practical Recommendations

For those considering omega-3 supplementation, it is advisable to:

  1. Consult Healthcare Providers: Before starting any new supplement regimen, individuals should discuss it with their healthcare provider, particularly if they have underlying health conditions or are taking other medications.
  2. Choose High-Quality Supplements: Opt for supplements that provide a balanced mix of EPA and DHA and are sourced from reputable manufacturers to ensure purity and potency.
  3. Combine with Physical Activity: While omega-3s may help mitigate muscle loss during inactivity, combining supplementation with regular physical exercise can maximize muscle health benefits.


The potential of omega-3 fatty acids to prevent disuse atrophy represents an exciting development in the field of geriatric health. By preserving muscle mass and strength, these supplements could significantly enhance the quality of life for older adults, promoting greater independence and reducing the risk of falls and associated complications. As research continues to unfold, omega-3s might become a cornerstone in the dietary management of age-related muscle decline.

To learn more, send an email to my assistant Lori Baker at or schedule a free consultation with me at the following link:

References: PMID: 31555658 | PMID: 25285409

Robert Ferguson is a California- and Florida-based single father of two daughters, nutritionist, researcher, best-selling author, speaker, podcast and television host, health advisor, NAACP Image Award Nominee, creator of the Diet Free Life methodology, Chief Nutrition Officer for iCoura Health, and he serves on the Presidential Task Force on Obesity for the National Medical Association. You can e-mail Robert at



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