Can fish oil and curcumin prevent muscle atrophy?


(Natural News) It’s no secret that turmeric is one of the healthiest spices on the planet, thanks to curcumin, its primary active ingredient. While the spice is a key addition to many curries, most people find the taste to be a little too strong. Fish oil, on the other hand, is often linked to improved heart health. People often take it to lower their cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease, but it’s also known for its fishy aftertaste. Here’s where it gets interesting: Researchers from Texas A&M University suggest combining the two – in the name of improved muscle health.

In their study, recently published in Nutrition Research, the team noted that the interesting combination can benefit those who are unable to use their muscles, such as patients who are either immobilized or under bed  rest, and even astronauts in spaceflight. The condition, which scientists refer to as mechanical unloading, can lead to muscle atrophy over time, where weakened muscles shrink and lose their mass. This can undoubtedly have negative effects on a person’s quality of life, with muscle atrophy greatly impairing the ability to perform everyday activities.

Curcumin and fish oil enhance anti-stress proteins

Scientists have long identified the link between muscle inactivity, or mechanical unloading, and muscle atrophy. When skeletal muscle use becomes limited or decreased, it can lead to low muscle mass, decreased muscle fiber cross-sectional area and muscle fiber transition from slow to fast – all of which indicate impaired force production, or the capacity to move weight. This also causes the downregulation of heat shock proteins, a family of proteins that help build muscle and protect against excessive stress, and further worsen these changes.

In the study, mice were fed with a diet with fish oil and curcumin supplements for 10 days before subjecting the animals to mechanical unloading of the calf muscle. The researchers then took samples of their muscle fibers a week after the mice were unloaded to assess whether the combination positively affected biomarkers for muscle atrophy.

The findings revealed that supplementing with curcumin and fish oil resulted in a lower loss of muscle fiber after unloading, as well as increased the amount of heat shock proteins in the muscle. The researchers also found that the tissues had reduced levels of Nox2, a biomarker for oxidative stress.