Krill oil supports muscle strength and size in older subjects, says recent study

Results showed that subjects taking krill oil saw a significant increase in knee extensor maximal torque, grip strength, and vastus lateralis muscle thickness, relative to control.

A recent study1 conducted by the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences at the University of Glasgow found that supplementation with krill oil had beneficial effects on the skeletal muscle health of healthy older adults. In the study, 102 healthy men and women over the age of 65 were given either 4 grams per day of krill oil (SuperbaBoost from Aker BioMarine; Lysaker, Norway) or placebo for six months. Knee extensor maximal torque was measured at baseline, six weeks, and six months. Secondary outcomes included grip strength, vastus lateralis muscle thickness, short performance physical battery test, body fat, muscle mass, blood lipids, glucose, insulin, and C-Reactive Protein, neuromuscular (M-Wave, RMS and voluntary activation), and erythrocyte fatty acid composition.

Results showed that subjects taking krill oil saw a significant increase in knee extensor maximal torque, grip strength, and vastus lateralis muscle thickness, relative to control. Supplementation also increased erythrocyte fatty acid profile, increasing EPA by 2145, DHA by 36% and omega-3 index by 61%.

“As humans age, we experience a slow deterioration of our muscle mass and function. Previous research has indicated that EPA and DHA supplementation can positively impact muscle protein synthesis, muscle volume and strength, and interestingly this new study also suggests that choline in krill oil may have additional beneficial effects for skeletal muscle metabolism and health. This study strengthens the hypothesis that daily supplementation of krill oil for an extended period can improve thigh muscle strength, grip strength and muscle thickness in healthy, older adults,” said Line Johnsen, vice president, Science & Regulatory Affairs, Aker BioMarine, in a press release.

“This is yet another a strong indication that the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are important nutrients for adults as we age, and we are keen to investigate this further, particularly whether this could be a useful treatment for those who already have muscle weakness,” added Stuart Gray, PhD, Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Reference

  1. Alkhedhairi SAA et al. “The effect of krill oil supplementation on skeletal muscle function and size in older adults: A randomised controlled trial.” Clinical Nutrition, Published online ahead of print on April 19, 2022, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2022.04.007