Recruits sought for fish oil study

Researchers are trying to recruit men and women over 65 onto a University of Aberdeen study to see if the consumption of fish oil combined with weight training exercises could help protect the elderly against muscle deterioration.

Their study follows earlier work led by Dr Stuart Gray of the University’s Musculoskeletal Research Programme which showed that supplementing the diet of women over 65 years of age with fish oil can have beneficial effects on muscle strength and function.

Scientists say this is important because as we age our muscle size is reduced by approximately 0.5-2% a year, and this process, known as sarcopenia, can result in a reduction in quality of life and loss of independence.

Dr Gray said: “Our next study, which will build on our earlier research, will investigate whether taking fish oil supplements alongside regular weight training exercises could help improve the beneficial effects of such exercise in the elderly.

“We will ask both men and women over 65 to undertake an 18 week programme of resistance training at the University’s Health Sciences Building at the Foresterhill health campus.

“Half of the participants will also take fish oil supplements while the other half will be given a placebo supplement.

“We will monitor changes in muscle strength and function; muscle mass, volume and fat content in our volunteers using MR scans.

“We will also take blood samples and check these for insulin sensitivity and inflammation in blood and to examine what is going on in the muscles.”

Potential volunteers who are able to attend the University of Aberdeen twice a week and would like to get involved or find out more should contact Dr Gray’s team on 01224 438051 or email