BACKGROUND: A global physical evaluation was performed in 21 males with spinal cord injury (SCI), at the beginning and at three and six months of omega-3 fatty acid (FA) supplementation.

METHOD: A significant increase in the proportion of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexanoic acid in plasma was observed in response to the supplementation (p<0.05).

RESULT: After six months of FA supplementation, strength endurance time increased from 127.7+/-19.0 s to 215.2+/-45.6 s in the right arm, and from 139+/-27.6 s to 237.7+/-48.7 s, in the left arm. The time to perform 20 repetitions of 70% maximum workload showed a reduction of 41% between the first and the third test. The time taken to cover a 90 meter long track, with a 6% slope, was reduced from 66.9+/-8.0 s to 59.3+/-6.7 s, at the end of the study (p<0.05).

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, omega-3 FA supplementation could contribute to improve the functional capabilities in SCI subjects.