Fish oil supplements rank among some of the most popular dietary supplements on the market, with good reason. Fish oil is full of omega-3 fatty acids (the good fats) that play a critical role in some many bodily functions, from boosting brain power and heart health, to reducing inflammation and maintaining a healthy nervous system. But when it comes to weight loss, does it make a difference?
In short, yes. Here’s how:
Decreased cortisol levels. We know that the hormone cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone,” plays an active role in promoting inflammation. Inflammation is a prime culprit in increased fat mass. In a 6-week study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, participants who consumed fish oil supplements versus a placebo showed higher rates of cortisol reduction. As a result this led to…
Increased lean muscle mass and decreased body fat. When cortisol levels decrease, inflammation decreases. Without the inflammatory triggers, the body’s metabolic system strengthens, which results in increased lean muscle mass and less fat mass. In the same study described above, fish oil supplement takers outperformed the placebo group in both muscle and fat indicators.
Decreased hunger. Another great benefit of fish oil is that it can help you feel less hungry. As published in the journal Appetite, study participants classified as overweight or obese were split into two groups. Both groups were tasked with reducing daily calories, but with one major difference; one group ate meals high in omega-3 fatty acids while the other ate low levels of omega-3. At the end of the 8-week study, the results were clear. Those who consumed a minimum of 1300mg of omega-3 fatty acids per day had less feelings of hunger than those who ate low levels of omega-3. Those participants continued to struggle with strong appetites.
Straight-up weight loss. When measuring the effects of fish oil on weight alone, the omega-3 rich food wins again. In a 16-week study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a group of participants assigned to lose weight by eating fish versus other foods low in omega-3 fatty acids showed higher weight loss than participants who lacked fish in their diets. Another study in the Journal of International Obesity produced similar results after just four weeks. Participants who included fish or fish oil supplements in their reduced-calorie meals were able to lose on average two pounds more than participants who did not.
Whether you choose to get your omega-3 fatty acids through fish or fish oil supplements, one thing is clear. If you want to boost your weight loss efforts, and have the all-clear to do so from your medical provider, you should expect some satisfying results.