According to the Journal of Cell Science, the mTOR (or the mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling pathway integrates both intracellular and extracellular signals and serves as a central regulator of cell metabolism, growth, proliferation and survival.
The new study, published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, looked at krill oil supplementation in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study design.
The researchers were investigating krill oil’s effect on mTOR signaling as a measure of how it affects muscle growth and recovery after resistance exercise.
The research team consisted of individuals associated with Avoca, a Rimfrost/Olympic Seafood AS subsidiary, two researchers from Increnovo, a Milwaukee-based contract research organization and a faculty member from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
One of the researchers, Dr Ralf Jäger, PhD of Increnovo, said the benefits of krill oil, and omega-3s in general, in aiding in the recovery from exercise is an area of continued study.
“In athletes, krill oil has been shown to improve post-exercise immune function (2 g/d for six weeks) and diminished post-exercise oxidative damage during recovery (1 g/d for six weeks); however, failed to improve exercise performance (cycling time trial and total run time in a 2,000 meter test),” Jäger told NutraIngredients-USA.
“The lack of performance benefits of krill oil supplementation in previous sports studies might have been based on a lack of an accompanying controlled challenging training protocol optimizing krill oil’s benefits on recovery, as muscle recovery after an exercise bout might influence training adaptations,” he said.
“Fish oil supplementation in combination with or without resistance exercise resulted in increased strength and functional ability in older adults; however, potential long-term benefits of omega-3 PUFA supplementation on muscle hypertrophy and performance in young healthy subjects undergoing a controlled resistance training program are currently unknown,” he said.
Dr Jäger is also a co-holder of a patent on the use of krill oil extract to increase muscle growth.
The researchers noted that in addition to the beneficial molecules of EPA and DHA, krill oil also includes the potent antioxidant carotenoid astaxanthin.
But they speculated that the phospholipid nature of krill oil might boost the absorption of the astaxanthin in the material as it does for the EPA and DHA that is present.
The krill oil group received 3 grams of krill oil (supplied by Rimfrost) daily, whereas the others received olive oil placebos.
A cultured tissue assay comparing the mTOR signaling activation effects of krill oil to soy-derived phosphatidylcholine also formed part of the publication.