Omega 3 for weight loss is a fantastic weight loss supplement that can even burn fat. Omega-3 belongs to the classification of essential fatty acids, which are important for supporting health because they cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from food.
What Is Fish Oil?
Fish oil is mainly derived from fatty fish and is loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), i.e., omega-3 and omega-6. Several studies showed that supplementing fish oil or eating fish could help reduce mortality from coronary heart disease. Fish oil is available in the tablet or capsule form. Make sure you consult a doctor or dietitian before opting for the supplements.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and they are important for better human health.
ALA can be synthesized by humans but not EPA and DHA. Though ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA, the conversion percent is very low, and vegetarians need more ALA to meet the demand for omega-3 fatty acids . Taking fish oil supplements can help meet the requirement of omega-3 fatty acids.
How Fish Oil Aids Weight Loss
1. Fish Oil Restores Omega-3 And Omega-6 Fatty Acids Ratio For Weight Loss
In general, the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be 1:1. But according to a study published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, this ratio is 15:1 or higher in Western diets . This may cause cardiovascular disease, inflammation, depression, and obesity.
You can restore the omega-6/omega-3 ratio by consuming fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements. This, in turn, reduces inflammation and inflammation-induced weight gain and improves lipid profile . This is the basic scientific logic behind fish oil’s weight loss properties.
2. Fish Oil May Increase Satiety
The omega-3s in fish oil aid weight loss by improving the hunger-satiety cycle. Individuals who want to slim down can go for fish oil supplementation after consulting their doctor.
In an experiment, obese patients were supplemented with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids along with diet restrictions. The patients were provided with 260 mg/day or 1300 mg/per day of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids, and their postprandial (post-meal) satiety was high .
3. Fish Oil May Improve Metabolic Rate
Fish oil helps in weight loss by improving metabolism. The more your metabolic rate, the more you tend to lose weight.
An experimental study showed that supplementing with 3 g of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids per day improved metabolic rate by 14% and fat oxidation by 19% .
4. Fish Oil May Help Burn Fat
Fish oil supplementation may help burn and mobilize fat by accelerating fatty acid oxidation (break down of fatty acids).
Researchers from France conducted an experiment with a few healthy individuals. The participants were on a controlled diet for three weeks. They were given 6g/day of fish oil along with the same controlled diet for the next 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, it was found that fish oil induced fat oxidation .
5. Fish Oil May Help To Build Muscle Mass
Fish oil also helps build muscle, which helps to increase the metabolic rate. Scientists have found that supplementing human participants with fish oil can aid muscle anabolism and improve muscle mass .
6. Fish Oil May Help You Lose Inches And Gain Lean Mass
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help you lose fat and build muscle mass.
According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, six weeks of supplementation with fish oil significantly decreased fat mass and increased lean mass in healthy adults . More studies are needed to determine this mechanism.
7. Fish Oil Lowers Triglyceride levels
When you consume a lot of unhealthy food and don’t work out, the triglyceride levels go up. This puts you at risk of obesity and related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, etc.
It has been found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help lower serum triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the availability and delivery of fatty acids and decrease fatty acid synthesizing enzymes. This, in turn, prevents the formation of triglyceride molecules and protects you from gaining weight (visceral and subcutaneous fat) .
8. Fish Oil Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Obesity may lead to higher levels of LDL cholesterol and lower levels of HDL or good cholesterol in the blood. A study found that supplementation with fish oil had decreased LDL cholesterol levels .
In another study, moderate amounts of fish oil (6g/day) were found to increase HDL or good cholesterol levels . Hence, if you need to lose weight, add fish oil to your diet. It will not only help you lose subcutaneous fat but also reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases.
Fish oil is one of the most common supplements on the market.
It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer various health benefits, including better heart and brain health, a reduced risk of depression and even better skin health
Researchers have also suggested that fish oil omega-3s may help people lose weight more easily. However, studies are not unanimous, and opinions on this potential benefit remain split.
This article reviews the current evidence on whether omega-3s from fish oil can help you lose weight.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a family of fats that’s essential for human health.
There are several types of omega-3 fats, but the most important ones can be categorized into two main groups:
- Essential omega-3 fatty acids: Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the only essential omega-3 fatty
acid. It is found in a wide range of plant foods. Walnuts, hemp seeds,
chia seeds, flaxseeds and their oils are the richest sources.
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids: The two most known are
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). They are
mainly found in fish oil and fatty fish, but also in seafood, algae and
ALA is considered essential because your body can’t produce it. This means you must get this type of fat from your diet.
On the other hand, EPA and DHA aren’t technically considered essential, because the human body can use ALA to produce them.
However, this conversion is not very efficient in humans. Your body turns only about 2–10% of the ALA you consume into EPA and DHA
For this reason, many health professionals advise taking around 200–300 mg of EPA and DHA per day. You can do this by eating about two portions of fatty fish per week, or you can take a supplement.
EPA and DHA are involved in many essential body functions and play a particularly important role in brain and eye development and function
Studies show that maintaining adequate levels of EPA and DHA may also help prevent inflammation, depression, breast cancer and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
There are many fish oil omega-3 supplements on the market, usually available as oil drops or capsules.
Fish oil is rich in the omega-3s EPA and DHA, which are involved in many
important body functions. Other sources of these two omega-3s include fatty
fish, seafood and algae.
Fish oil omega-3s may help people lose weight in several ways, the first of which involves reducing hunger and appetite.
This effect may be particularly useful for those who are following weight loss diets, which sometimes lead to increased feelings of hunger.
In one study, healthy people on a weight loss diet consumed either fewer than 0.3 grams or more than 1.3 grams of fish oil omega-3s per day. The high-fish-oil group reported feeling significantly fuller up to two hours after a meal
However, these effects are not universal.
For instance, in another small study, healthy adults not following a weight loss diet were given either 5 grams of fish oil or a placebo each day.
The fish oil group reported feeling around 20% less full after a standard breakfast and experienced a 28% stronger desire to eat
What’s more, several studies in patients with cancer or renal disease have reported increased appetite or calorie intake in those given fish oil, compared to others given a placebo
Interestingly, one study observed that fish oil omega-3s increased the levels of a fullness hormone in obese people, but decreased levels of the same hormone in non-obese people
Thus, it is possible that effects vary depending on your health status and diet. However, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made.
Fish oil may be most effective at reducing hunger and appetite in healthy
people following a weight loss diet. However, more studies are needed.
Another way fish oil omega-3s may help you lose weight is by increasing your metabolism.
Your metabolism can be measured by your metabolic rate, which determines the number of calories you burn each day.
The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.
One small study reported that when healthy young adults took 6 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks, their metabolic rates increased by around 3.8% .
In another study, when healthy older women took 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks, their metabolic rates increased by around 14%, which is the equivalent of burning an extra 187 calories per day
More recently, a study found that when healthy adults took 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks, their metabolic rate increased by an average of 5.3%
Most of the studies reporting increases in metabolic rates also observed an increase in muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, thus an increase in muscle mass may explain the higher metabolic rates observed in these studies.
That said, not all studies have observed this effect. Thus, more studies are needed to understand the exact effects of fish oil on metabolic rates
Fish oil may increase the speed of your metabolism. A quicker metabolism can
help you burn more calories each day and potentially lose more weight.
The metabolic effects of fish oil may not be limited to simply increasing how many calories you burn each day.
Research suggests that consuming fish oil may also amplify the number of calories and amount of fat you burn during exercise.
Researchers believe this happens because fish oil may help you switch from using carbohydrates to fat as a source of fuel during exercise
One study reports that women given 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks burned 10% more calories and 19–27% more fat when they exercised
This finding may explain why some studies have found that taking fish oil supplements in combination with exercise was more effective at reducing body fat than exercise alone
However, other studies have found that fish oil does not appear to affect the type of fuel the body uses during exercise. Thus, more studies are needed before strong conclusions can be made
Fish oil may help increase the number of calories and amount of fat burned
during exercise, both of which may help you lose weight. However, more studies
Even if fish oil omega-3s don’t help some people lose weight, they may still help them build muscle and lose body fat.
Sometimes your weight on the scale can be misleading. It may remain the same even if you’re gaining muscle and losing fat.
That’s why people who want to lose weight are often encouraged to use a tape measure or track their body fat percentages to assess their progress, rather than rely only on the scale.
Using body weight to track loss of body fat may also explain why some studies have failed to find any effect of fish oil omega-3s on weight loss. However, studies that use more precise measurements of fat loss often tell another story.
For instance, a study of 44 people reported that those given 4 grams of fish oil per day failed to lose more weight than those given a placebo.
However, the fish oil group lost 1.1 more pounds (0.5 kg) of body fat and built 1.1 more pounds (0.5 kg) of muscle than those not given fish oil
In another study, six healthy adults replaced 6 grams of fat in their diets with 6 grams of fish oil each day for three weeks. They lost no more weight following the fish oil-rich diet, but they did lose more body fat
Similarly, another small study observed that people who took 3 grams of fish oil per day lost 1.3 more pounds (0.6 kg) of fat than those given a placebo. However, participants’ total body weights remained unchanged.
Accordingly, a review of 21 studies concluded that fish oil doesn’t reduce body weight more effectively than a placebo. However, the review showed that fish oil does reduce waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio more effectively
Thus, fish oil may not help you lose weight per se, but it may make it easier for you to lose inches and help you go down in clothing sizes.
Fish oil may help you lose more fat or inches without actually reducing your
weight on the scale.