DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is the bane of exercisers the world over. Hit a workout hard and it’s likely you’ll be hobbling around for a few days afterwards, no matter how ‘fit’ you are. The most frustrating thing is that sports scientists’ have really struggled to come up with anything to improve the pain and discomfort that is characteristic of delayed onset muscle soreness. Post exercise hot baths, Ice baths, massages, protein, BCAA’s, carbs, so far nothing has been able to make a real difference we are still asking how to cure DOMS?.
However, Omega 3 may offer the most promise for sore muscles. Research published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine has found that Omega 3 supplementation reduced perceived pain and other external symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after eccentric exercise in knee extensor muscles. (You actually only get DOMS after eccentric exercise, or working the muscles as they are lengthening). The study was a randomized double blind, and followed 27 men who had not participated in an training program for 60 days before the study started. The subjects in the study were assigned to one of 3 groups, 1.8 grams per day of Omega 3 per day, placebo or control.
The team measured the range of motion of the knee, the perceived pain and the thigh circumference of the leg, before, immediately after, and at 24h and 48h post workout. There were no differences before or immediately after exercise, between any of the groups, but there was significantly less perceived pain and a significantly greater range of movement at 48 hours post exercise in the Omega 3 supplemented group. Thigh circumference was also significantly less with Omega 3 supplementation at 24 and 48 hours post exercise.
So reducing DOMS another great reason to make sure your diet is as high in Omega 3 as possible, and if daily servings of Omega 3 rich food are difficult for you to get, supplement with the highest quality triglyceride Omega 3 fish oil you can afford.
Tartibian, Bakhtiar; Maleki, Behzad Hajizadeh; Abbasi, Asghar. The Effects of Ingestion of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Perceived Pain and External Symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Untrained Men. Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine, March 2009