The entire study included 1,528 male and female athletes from nine NCAA Division I facilities. Blood samples from a subset of 298 people showed the average omega-3 index to be 4.33%, with no athlete reaching the 8% omega-3 index benchmark associated with the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease is.
The data, which will be published in PLoS One, was collected in the 2018-2019 academic year, which preceded a 2019 change in NCAA legislation regarding omega-3 fatty acid (FA) supplementation.
Prior to 2019, the NCAA classified omega-3 FA supplements as ‘prohibited’, which prevented sports departments from buying such supplements for athletes unless prescribed by a team doctor. However, endorsement by member institutions allowed NCAA legislation to be changed in 2019 by making omega-3 FA supplements acceptable for sports departments to purchase and care for athletes, ”the researchers explained.
“As a result of this rule change, interest in and availability of omega-3 FA dietary supplements has increased.”
Cardioprotective and Neuroprotective Benefits.
Harry Rice, PhD, vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs at the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3 Fatty Acids (GOED), said the history of omega-3 levels in college was “fascinating” and learned from Dr . Jonathan Oliver, Senior Associate Athletic Director for High Performance at Army West Point Athletics during the recent GOED exchange (scroll down to see Dr. Oliver’s presentation).
“As you will see from Dr. Oliver’s presentation, the story is not just about correcting poor omega-3 intake for cardioprotective benefits,” said Dr. Rice. “It’s about providing athletes with potential neuroprotective benefits. While the NCAA focuses on college athletes, athletic participation in concussion sports (e.g., soccer, soccer, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, etc.) starts very early. .
“Therefore, the NCAA’s recognition of omega-3s is not only important for college athletes, it also has the added benefit of potentially influencing the awareness and attitudes of parents of children who participate in concussion sports. It could be argued that it is even more important to ensure that younger athletes have adequate omega-3 supplies with their developing brains. “.
Dr. Rice added that the new paper confirms the results of a January 2019 paper published in the Journal of Athletic Training (2019, Volume 54, No. 1, pp. 7-11, doi: 10.4085 / 1062-6050-387-18) ) Co-authored by, among others, Bill Harris and Jonathan Oliver.
The 2019 paper focused on NCAA Division I football athletes. The new study is reported to be the first large-scale assessment of the omega-3 status of male and female college athletes from various sports.
Scientists from Virginia Tech, Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Carilion Clinic, University of Utah, and Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Roanoke collected data on over 1,500 college athletes from 34 sports. Food Frequency Questionnaires (FFQ) were used to assess omega-3 intake from diet and supplements. In addition, a subset of nearly 300 athletes provided dried blood stain samples for the omega-3 index measurements.
The results showed that only 15% of athletes used omega-3 supplements and only 6% of all respondents consumed 500 mg of EPA and DHA per day, as recommended by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
“A small percentage of participants reported using omega-3 FA supplements, but almost none were able to provide information on the brand, form, dosage, and frequency of the supplements used,” the researchers wrote. “The recent changes to the NCAA guidelines provide the ability to more easily deliver omega-3s when needed, and in a safe, controlled, and supervised manner.”
Source: PLoS One
2020; 15 (4): e0228834. doi: 10.1371 / journal.pone.0228834
“Dietary and Biological Assessment of the Omega-3 Status of University Athletes: A Cross-Sectional Analysis”
Authors: PP Ritz et al.