New Omega-3 High-Concentrate Supplement May Help with Exercise-Related Pain

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KD Pharma (Bexbach, Germany) is now officially launching the ingredient, KD Active, for the sports nutrition market.

Following a 2014 study showing that a high-concentrate omega-3 supplement may help alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness in young adults, KD Pharma (Bexbach, Germany) is now officially launching the ingredient, KD Active, for the sports nutrition market.

“KD Active is a 90% total omega-3 fish oil concentrate, bringing the same 3:2 EPA:DHA ratio found in starting fish,” said Nico Bonne, director of business development, North America, KD Pharma, in a press release. “The concentrate doesn’t, however, contain unhealthy ingredients like cholesterol, saturated fats, monounsaturated fats, and omega-6.”

The company attributes its high-concentrate quality to its patented supercritical fluid process that gently extracts and purifies polyunsaturated fatty acids, enabling concentrates with purity up to 99%.

Unlike acute muscle soreness, which happens shortly after exercising, delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is pain and stiffness that sets in later, usually 24 to 48 hours post-exercise, and can last for up to a week. DOMS often occurs after eccentric (muscle lengthening) exercise.

In the 2014 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine study1, 69 subjects took either a placebo or 2.7 g of KD Pharma’s EPA+DHA supplement daily for 30 days prior to physical exercise testing in order to raise tissue levels of omega-3 (the Omega-3 Index) in the intervention group. At 30 days, subjects performed an eccentric exercise routine-multiple sets of maximum eccentric forearm extensions to induce muscle soreness-and were measured at baseline and at 24, 48, 72, and 96 hours post-exercise for markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP), creatine kinase, blood lactate levels, and functional measurements of DOMS, including indirect markers of soreness such as arm extension and torque and flexibility.

At 72 and 96 hours post-exercise, omega-3–supplemented subjects, when evaluated on functional markers of DOMS, exhibited less DOMS pain compared to placebo subjects. There was also a significant difference in blood lactate levels between the two groups (elevated blood lactate levels can impact endurance performance), with the omega-3 subjects showing lower levels of blood lactate as well as CRP. Omega-3 subjects also self-reported a higher quality of life and less DOMS pain via the Profile of Mood States Questionnaire.

Researchers found no significant difference in creatine kinase levels or in extension or strength between the two groups, however.

According to researchers, “Reduced pain in the higher N3 Index Group may be due to an increased concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in the muscle cell walls, thus triggering a higher elasticity, flexibility, and lower risk of physical damage to muscle tissue during exercise.” They added, “These findings support the hypothesis that higher omega-3 tissue levels may have a protective effect on muscle cells during exercise and may act by reducing the inflammatory response and subsequent DOMS.”


Jennifer Grebow
Nutritional Outlook magazine



  1. Lembke P et al., “Influence of omega-3 (N3) index on performance and wellbeing in young adults after heavy eccentric exercise,” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, vol. 13., no. 1 (January 20, 2014): 151-156.