Purpose: The aim was to investigate the cross-sectional association of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids PUFA (alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)) intake with multiple physical functions, muscle mass and fat mass in older women.
Method:Study subjects were 554 women from the Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention Fracture Prevention Study, with dietary intake assessed with 3-day food record. Body composition was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Physical function measures included walking speed 10 m, chair rises, one leg stance, knee extension, handgrip strength and squat. Short physical performance battery (SPPB) score was defined based on the European working group on sarcopenia criteria.
Results: The multivariable adjusted models showed statistically significant associations for dietary ALA with higher SPPB (β = 0.118, P = 0.024), knee extension force at baseline (β = 0.075, P = 0.037) and lower fat mass (β = – 0.081, P = 0.034), as well as longer one-leg stance (β = 0.119, P = 0.010), higher walking speed (β = 0.113, P = 0.047), and ability to squat to the ground (β = 0.110, P = 0.027) at baseline. Total dietary omega-3 PUFA was associated with better SPPB (β = 0.108, P = 0.039), one-leg stance (β = 0.102, P = 0.041) and ability to squat (β = 0.110, P = 0.028), and with walking speed (β = 0.110, P = 0.028). However, associations for dietary EPA and DHA with physical function and body composition were not significant. Conclusion: Dietary omega-3 and ALA, but not EPA and DHA, were positively associated with muscle strength and function in older women. The intake of omega-3 and its subtypes was not associated with muscle mass. Longitudinal studies are needed to show whether omega-3 intake may be important for muscle function in older women.Link to Full Text