An Indiana University study has revealed that there may be a greater connection between mussels and muscles than previously thought.
The study, by kinesiology professor Timothy Mickleborough at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, found that taking a pre-exercise supplement of the omega-3 PCSO-524, a marine oil lipid derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, has significant positive effects on post-exercise muscle damage.
The pharmaceutical name of the supplement is Lyprinol, or Omega XL in the United States, and it has previously been used to effectively reduce the effects of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and exercise-induced asthma. Pharmalink International LTD, which funded the study, develops it.
Mickleborough said his initial study of this particular marine oil supplement led him to further test its healing properties on other parts of the body.
“I’ve worked with Pharmalink before when they approached me to do a study with this particular oil and its effects on exercise-induced asthma and respiratory inflammation,” Mickleborough said. “I thought if it can be used as an anti-inflammatory for lungs, perhaps it could reverse muscle inflammation as well.”
For the study, lead author Mickleborough and his colleagues tested 32 “untrained male subjects” - men who exercise less than three times a week for less than 30 minutes at a time - who would elicit a greater muscle response than an athlete who is used to regular muscle damage. The subjects were randomly given either the marine oil supplement or a placebo for 26 days before a muscle-damaging exercise session and for 96 hours afterwards.
Why do my muscles feel sore after exercising?
Sore muscles after physical activity, known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is common when beginning a new exercise programme, changing your exercise routine, or increasing the duration or intensity of your regular workout.
When muscles are required to work harder than they’re used to, or in a different way, it is believed to cause microscopic damage to the muscle fibres, resulting in muscle soreness or stiffness. DOMS is often mistakenly believed to be caused by lactic acid build up, however, lactic acid is not involved in this process.
Who can DOMS affect?
Anyone can develop DOMS, even those who have been exercising for years, including elite athletes. DOMS can be alarming for people who are new to exercise and it can give their initial enthusiasm to get fit a real hammering. The good news is that the pain will decrease as your muscles get used to the new physical demands being placed upon them.
The soreness is part of an adaptation process that leads to greater stamina and strength as the muscles recover and build. Unless you push yourself hard, you’re unlikely to develop DOMS after your next exercise session.
The exercise session consisted of running at fairly high intensity for 20 minutes downhill on a treadmill. The body’s reaction to the muscle-damaging exercise regimen was tested immediately, and at 24, 48, 72 and 96 hours post-workout.
The men who were given the PCSO-524 marine oil supplement exhibited less muscle soreness, less muscle pain, less strength loss, less fatigue and even less inflammatory proteins evident in their bloodstreams. Overall, they experienced less bodily stress after their workout in comparison to the subjects who were given the placebo.
For people who are looking to start exercising again, or even for those who engage in intense workouts regularly, this discovery can have a variety of positive effects on how their bodies react to muscle damage, Mickleborough said.
Pain is a real, well, pain! How many times have you been gung-ho to start a new workout routine only to feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks on day two? Something as simple as walking down the stairs can feel like torture. Most of us have “been there, done that” when it comes to muscle soreness. However, did you know that there are many different causes for muscle soreness and that some of them are entirely preventable? Read on to learn what’s normal and what’s not when it comes to muscle soreness, and how to tell the difference between normal soreness and pain that requires time off from the gym (or even a doctor’s visit).
Many people confuse soreness with pain, but the two are very, very different. Soreness is more of a dull, slightly uncomfortable ache in your muscle, while pain is a very uncomfortable or sometimes sharp sensation in your bones, joints, or sometimes your muscles. While some muscle soreness is normal, pain is not. If you feel pain at any point during your workout, it is essential that you stop what you are doing. If you experience sudden pain, severe pain, swelling, extreme tenderness, extreme weakness in a limb, inability to place weight on a leg or foot, inability to move a joint through its full range of motion, visible dislocation or broken bone, numbness or tingling you should see a healthcare professional right away.
“It might have positive implications for triathletes if they’re doing several different types of exercises, and it could potentially help diminish soreness in multisport, recreational athletes as well,” he said. “Essentially, for anyone who is engaging in unaccustomed exercise, it’s a nice product.”
Mickleborough’s study “The effects PCSO-524®, a patented marine oil lipid and omega-3 PUFA blend derived from the New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), on indirect markers of muscle damage and inflammation after muscle damaging exercise in untrained men: a randomized, placebo controlled trial” is featured in the Feb. 2015 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
Co-authors include Robert Chapman, assistant professor in the School of Public Health-Bloomington; Jacob Sinex, doctoral candidate in the School of Public Health-Bloomington; Molly Hirt, IU School of Medicine student; and David Platt, doctoral candidate at the University of Notre Dame.
The study was supported by a grant from Pharmalink International LTD, which manufactures and owns PCSO-524. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, in writing the journal article, or the decision to publish.
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition