Sandpipers whistle on endurance training. They prefer to diet and only feed on silt crabs.
Read aloud In the case of the sandy beach runner, the abundant diet of omega-3 fatty acids replaces endurance training. The migrant bird from Canada fled to South America before the harsh winter. Before he can make this marathon flight, he makes a stopover on the east coast of Canada before: At the Bay of Fundy, he feeds for two weeks exclusively on silt crabs, which have an extremely high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Only by this feed ingredient can he increase his performance enormously, found out Canadian scientists. Feeding experiments with Virginia quail confirmed this finding. These birds rarely fly and only over short distances, which is why their wing muscles are weak. However, after six weeks of strict slaughter cancer diets, the quails were almost as fit as the long-haul aircraft, report the researchers to Jean-Michel Weber of the University of Ottawa. In the experiments, the researchers fed the Virginia quail with one of two specific omega-3 fatty acids or a mix of the two fatty acids for six weeks. Then they measured the oxygen consumption of the pectoral muscles. This had increased enormously, which suggests a corresponding performance increase of the muscles. In addition, the scientists examined the activity of four metabolic enzymes and found that the values ​​had risen between 58 and 90 percent and thus reached the level of the sandy beach runners.

Such an improvement in enzyme activity is impossible even for competitive athletes: after seven weeks of intensive endurance training, they can only increase their values ​​by 38 to a maximum of 76 percent. In subsequent studies, the researchers want to clarify how exactly the fatty acids stimulate the enzyme activity.

Contrary to Bild der Wissenschaft, study leader Jean-Michel Weber stated that he assumed that a daily high dose of omega-3 fatty acids would also improve performance in humans. But probably not as extreme as the birds.

It has been proven for some years that omega-3 fatty acids can prevent atherosclerosis and constriction of the coronary arteries. Since the human body lacks an enzyme, it can not produce certain omega-3 fatty acids itself, but must ingest them with food. The fatty acids are found mainly in fish species with a high fat content such as herring, salmon or tuna, but also in many vegetable oils, for example in flaxseed or walnut oil. display

Jean-Michel Weber (University of Ottawa) et al .: Journal of Experimental Biology, Vol. 212, p. 1106 ddp / science.de? Masha's shaft

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