Fish Oil Weight Loss

By Dr. Mary Butler
Fish oil can help tremendously with fat metabolism and weight loss. However, certain factors can boost these benefits and other factors can completely cancel them.

Many studies have explored the effects of fish oil weight loss. However, comparatively few have contended with factors that can influence the results, either positively or negatively. If you search for studies on fish oil vs. weight loss on our national medical database, PubMed, you will find studies that show seemingly contradictory results.

One of the better studies, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007, shows that fish oils can reduce fat mass and increase lean mass, whereas vegetable oils can do just the opposite. This and similar reports point to the positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids from fish and the negative effects of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils.

In addition, this study also showed that a crucial factor for getting positive effects from fish oil is exercise. Even moderate exercise, such as walking for 45 minutes at 75 percent of age-predicted maximal heart rate, just 3 days each week, boosts the benefits of fish oil. In the absence of exercise, the effects of fish oil are insignificant.

The bottom line among all the seemingly contradictory results of studies that entail the effects of fish oil on weight loss can be summarized in four take-home lessons:

1) The overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils negates the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil. Our modern dietary intake of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids is in a ratio of about 20:1. It should be closer to 2:1. Consume less vegetable oil and more fish oil.

2) Fish oil is beneficial for losing fat and building lean mass, in combination with moderate exercise. There are almost no such benefits in the absence of exercise.

3) The benefits of dietary fish oil are also undermined by sugar. In particulary, fructose and its widespread addition to foods and beverages as high fructose corn syrup cancel out the positive effects of fish oil.

4) The minimum intake of fish oil should be at least 1.5 grams per day, with 2-3 grams being even better. The best fish oil supplements offer the highest amounts of the two main omega-3 fatty acids from fish – i.e., EPA and DHA.

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Fish Oil Weight Loss

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