Evaluation of Omega-3 Status in Professional Basketball Players


July 2021

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Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) has been shown to promote muscle remodeling, improve immune status, decrease muscle soreness, and help maintain explosive power. Research that has assessed omega-3 blood concentrations with athletes has primarily focused on the college athlete. However, limited work has been conducted with the professional athlete. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the omega-3 PUFA blood concentrations, dietary, and supplement intake of professional basketball players. Blood collection occurred during preseason medical screenings and analyzed for eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, the omega-3 Index (O3i), and various fatty acids using dried blood spot sampling. The mean O3i of 119 professional basketball players was 5.02 + 1.19% (range, 2.84-9.76%). Dietary intake of players showed that 31% of players reported consuming no fish in their diet per week, with 61% of players reported consuming less than 2 servings of fish per week. Only 12 of the 119 players reported supplementing with omega-3 PUFA, which varied widely for dosage and frequency of supplementation. A moderate correlation was shown for O3i and dietary fish consumption per week (r = 0.58; p < 0.01) and fish consumption per month (r = 0.57; p < 0.01). A large number of players reported consuming less than the recommend amount of dietary fish per week and very few players reported supplementing with omega-3 PUFA. The low intake of omega-3 PUFA likely contributed, in part, to the majority of players having an O3i of less than 8%. J Strength Cond Res (2021) 35(7):1794-1799.

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