Several prior studies have investigated omega-3 status in Division 1 college athletes, according to a press release, but limited work has been done with professional athletes. This is the first study to assess omega-3 intake and index in NBA basketball players who play in the G-League, the official minor league.
The most common nutritional strategies investigated with basketball players have been carbohydrates and hydration, the study authors note, but recent studies have demonstrated that supplementing with omega-3s EPA and DHA helps attenuate strength loss, promote improved range of motion, and decrease muscle soreness.
Related: Omega-3 Index, Smoking Equal Predictors of CVD Destress, Get Energized, Have FUN! The Active Nutrition Opportunity119 players were evaluated. More than a third reported consuming no fish in their diet on a weekly basis; 61% reported consuming fewer than two servings per week. Around 10% of those studied took an omega-3 supplement. Of the 12 players who supplemented with omega-3s, 11 used fish oil and one used an omega-3 nutrition bar.
98% of the players studied had an O3I below the optimal 8% threshold. The players who supplemented had an average O3I of 6%; those who did not had an average O3I of 4.9%.
The study noted that these athletes had a slightly higher O3I than Division I college athletes, in spite of similar fish intakes.
If supplementation is implemented during the season, the study authors encourage teams to monitor athletes’ O3I regularly.
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