Background: Modifying the Omega-3 Index (O3I) in the elite endurance cyclist is desirable for cardiovascular and anti-inflammatory effects. This case study evaluated the effect of evidence based fish oil supplementation, providing long chain omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), on three elite riders taking part in the Tour de France (TdF).
Methods: The O3I of three riders was evaluated using a finger prick blood sample at the start of the season. Riders were then advised to consume daily fish oil supplements (NAMEDsport) according to their initial O3I to achieve >8% membrane EPA+DHA. Follow up blood samples were collected before and after the TdF.
Results: At baseline, the O3I of rider one (R1: 6.23%) and two (R2: 6.77%) were categorised as sub-optimal (<8%) whereas rider three (R3: 9.66%) was >8%. Two daily fish oil capsules (1118 mg EPA/458 mg DHA) increased the O3I to in both R1 (8.40%) and R2 (9.69%) by the start of the TdF and this was maintained upon completion of the race (R1: 8.81%; R2: 9.37%). The O3I of R3 (9.24%) was maintained by consuming one daily fish oil capsule (559 mg EPA/229 mg DHA) in the lead up to the TdF and upon completion their O3I was similar (9.52%) despite increasing their intake to two daily capsules during the TdF.
Conclusion: This case study demonstrates that an elite cyclist, consuming 1-2 daily fish oil capsules, can achieve and maintain a high O3I, in the favour of cardio-protection and anti-inflammation during arduous competition.