1 July - Omega 3 research

This is one of the more cutting edge things that I have been involved in. A Norwegian business has commissioned a market research company to put together a steering group to gain views on various groups’ likely interest in an Omega 3 fish oils supplement. The group is comprised mainly of scientists, some in academia and some in commercial research, with varying degrees of sports involvement; a couple of sports medical specialists; a sports products marketing guru; and a couple of performance coaches, one from the strength and speed sector and one from endurance. I am the latter, and it was very interesting, challenging even, to be in a recent focus group where the median qualification round the table was about a PhD  - I brought down the average! . Having the meeting in a private dining room at a  boutique Richmond Hotel overlooking the Thames, on a lovely warm night, was a reasonable way to do some CPD. Oh, and we were paid.

Very briefly – and there’s plenty more detail on the theme in the link here, though the meeting deliberately didn’t cover all the angles in the article,  the particular benefits for endurance athletes seem to be based around the omega-3 acting as a modulator of inflammation (and that word ‘modulator’  is specifically chosen because of the level of inflammation which is a  good and healthy way to heal) and that omega-3 can improve cardio-vascular efficiency at sub maximal levels of VO2 max. particularly around 50-60%. I found the latter particularly interesting – the tests done on ‘well trained’ racing cyclists showed that at around 100% of VO2 max and at around anaerobic  threshold – typically mid 80s% -  there was no change in the data but at lower efforts the indicators of fatigue were lower. It’s early days yet on just exactly what this might mean for distance runners – who will almost never be running at a % of VO2 max as low as 50-60%, but I’m hoping that some more specific research will home in on this sort of benefit.   

 We had oily fish for the first two courses though dessert was, thankfully, sweet and pesca-free