WASHINGTON - Feeding on diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids helps birds increase their aerobic capacity, say researchers.
According to Jean-Michel Weber from the University of Ottawa, the study showed that even less athletic birds called quails could get fit simply by eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
During the study, Webber along with student Simba Nagahuedi, fed three groups of the sedentary quails a tightly regulated omega-3 diet, or a 50/50 mixture of the two oils for 6 weeks
Then Nagahuedi checked the quails’ pectoral muscles to see if their capacity to consume oxygen to produce energy had improved.
While measuring the activity levels of four oxidative enzymes the duo found that the enzymes’ activity levels had increased by between 58 and 90 percent to levels normally only seen in the migrating sandpipers.
Weber admits that he was astonished by the increase because even top human endurance athletes only improve their oxidative enzyme activities by 38 to 76pct after 7 weeks of hard endurance training.
However when Weber tried to find out how the enigmatic fatty acids manifested their remarkable influence, the results were less clear.
For further analysis, he teamed up with Vance Trudeau and Jason Popesku to measure the levels of a key molecule that regulates oxidative enzyme levels, known as PPAR.
But he could not find any evidence for a change in PPAR gene expression in response to the 6-week diets.
However, he adds that it does not mean that PPAR levels do not change earlier to influence the bird’s performance during the oil diet.
Nagahuedi and Weber also measured the omega-3 fatty acid levels in the muscle cell membranes, and found that the fatty acid was evenly distributed between all of the different membranes in muscle cells.
When tiny semipalmated sandpipers embark on their annual odyssey from the Canadian Arctic to their winter residences in South America, they set out on one of the world’s longest migrations.
On the way, the tiny birds stop off at the Bay of Fundy on the Canadian east coast, where they spend two weeks gorging on a superfood, Corophium volutator (mud shrimps), which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. (ANI)