When omega-3 fish oil comes to mind, heart health is usually the first benefit attributed to it. Brain health and joint health are a close second and third. Did you know that omega-3s may also be helpful for your muscles?
According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, regular fish oil consumption, in conjunction with strength training, improved muscle force and function in elderly women. The study involved 45 women about 64-years-old, all assigned to a strength training program. Fifteen women received a standard fish oil supplement containing 400 milligrams EPA and 300 milligrams DHA during the 90 days of strength training, and 15 women received the fish oil for 60 days before strength training as well as throughout the strength training. Fifteen of the women strength trained but did not take fish oil supplements.
All women experienced improvements in muscle force and function, but the women taking omega-3 fish oil saw even greater effects than the women not taking it. The results of this study may be particularly important for aging women. Not only does strength training help build bone, but muscular strength is also important for stability as we age. The researchers stated, “The use of fish oil supplementation in addition to strength training potentiates the neuromuscular system, enhancing the muscle strength and the functional capacity in elderly women. Thus, fish oil may be an attractive supplement for the elderly to maximize their neuromuscular responses to strength training, which is important to life quality.”
If you are not taking fish oil already for its array of health benefits, consider it. Improved muscle function is one small benefit in addition to many others you may gain from this amazing nutrient.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder that involves abdominal pain and discomfort along with abnormal bowel habits of constipation, diarrhea, or an alternation between the two. Symptoms outside the digestive tract are also common in IBS. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of people are affected by IBS, though only a small proportion of them see a gastroenterologist for the condition. That said, half of all gastroenterologist outpatient visits are for IBS, and it is also one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions diagnosed by general practitioners. IBS is more common among women, with a female/male ratio of about 2:1.
IBS treatment is based on addressing individual symptoms, but because of the range of symptoms involved in IBS, pharmacological treatment is not always effective. Dietary changes and supplements can be very helpful for people with IBS. Certain psychological treatments have also been found to benefit IBS patients, including cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, stress management, and gut-directed hypnotherapy.
In a recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, gut-directed hypnotherapy was evaluated by utilizing hypnotherapy in the hospital and psychology private practice settings as opposed to specialized hypnotherapy centers in order to more closely reflect a widely available treatment option. The study found that gut-directed hypnotherapy, which is based on muscular and mental relaxation, and general hypnotic suggestions used to either focus on symptoms or distract from them, resulted in a significant reduction in IBS symptoms, especially sensory symptoms like pain and bloating.
When comparing the response rate to hypnotherapy against the response rate of other new IBS drugs on the market, the researchers stated, “hypnotherapy seems to be at least as effective and without any known side effects.”