The effects of fish oil and isoflavones on delayed onset muscle soreness

Jon Lenn, Timothy Uhl, Carl Mattacola, Gilbert Boissonneault, James Yates, Wissam Ibrahim, Geza Bruckner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction/ Purpose: Fish oils (FO) have been shown to modulate the inflammatory response through alteration of the eicosanoid pathway. Isoflavones (ISO) appear to reduce the inflammatory pathway through their role as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) develops after intense exercise and has been associated with an inflammatory response. Therefore, we hypothesized that physical parameters associated with DOMS could be decreased via the modulation of the inflammatory response by supplementing subjects with either FO or ISO. Methods: 22 subjects were recruited and randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups: FO (1.8 g of omega-3 fatty acids·d-1, ISO (120 mg soy isolate·d-1), or placebo (PL) (Western fat blend and/or wheat flour). All treatment groups received 100-IU vitamin E·d-1 to minimize lipid peroxidation of more highly unsaturated fatty acids. Subjects were supplemented 30 d before the exercise and during the week of testing and were instructed to refrain from unusual exercise. DOMS was induced by 50 maximal isokinetic eccentric elbow flexion contractions. Strength parameters, pain, arm circumference, and relaxed arm angle (RANG) were measured at 48, 72, and 168 h post exercise. Cortisol, creatine kinase (CK), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNFα), malondialdehyde (MDA), and serum iron were measured before supplementation, after supplementation, and post exercise. Results: Significant decreases were observed in RANG and strength 48 h postexercise among all groups, and there were significant increases in pain and arm circumference. There were no significant changes among all groups from baseline at 168 h (7 d) post exercise. There were no significant treatment effects between groups for the physical parameters or for cortisol, CK, IL-6, TNFα, MDA, or serum iron. Conclusion: These data indicate FO or ISO, at the doses supplemented, were not effective in ameliorating DOMS with the above-cited protocol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605-1613
Number of pages9
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokines
  • DHA
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Doms
  • EPA
  • Eccentric
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Exercise
  • IL-6
  • Inflammation
  • Iron
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Strength
  • TNF-α, malondialdehyde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of fish oil and isoflavones on delayed onset muscle soreness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this