Fish Oil for Weight Loss
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
Weight gain and obesity have been found to be one of the fastest-growing concerns nowadays. Healthcare professionals and nutrition authorities are looking for possible solutions in natural means. Taking fish oil for weight loss could be an effective solution when combined with an ideal diet and lifestyle modifications. The nutritional compounds present in fish oil not only help with losing weight, but also reduce several health risks such as high cholesterol, stroke, and inflammation.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the benefits of taking fish oil for weight loss according to scientific studies. But before we get into how fish oil can help with losing weight, it’s important to learn the basics of fish oil a little bit more. So, let’s get started.
Table of contents
- What is fish oil?
- Nutrients found in fish oil
- Benefits of fish oil for weight loss
- How to use fish oil supplements
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is fish oil?
Fish oil is the oil that is derived from the tissues of fatty or oily fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, halibut, and herring. Depending on the fish species, the oil content varies from 0.7% to 16%.
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) has approved some fish oil products as prescription medications for lowering triglyceride levels. Fish oil supplements are also used to prevent blood clotting, inflammation-induced swelling and pain, and to promote heart health, and brain health.
Nutrients found in fish oil
Fish oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) including omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. The major fatty acid contents found in fish oil are two long-chain omega 3s - eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA and docosahexaenoic acid or DHA. These omega-3 fatty acid content appear to provide most of the fish oil benefits.
Another omega-3 fatty acid is alpha-linoleic acid or ALA which is majorly found in certain vegetable oils such as flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. While all of these omega-3s are crucial for human health, the human body can convert a little fraction of ALA into EPA and DHA, which is not enough to meet the required amounts. Therefore, fish oil supplements could be an easy option to get the required amount.
Benefits of fish oil for weight loss
Fish oils and their omega-3 fatty acid content can help lose weight in many different ways. Here are some of the common ways how fish oil can help with losing weight naturally:
May help suppress appetite
The first and foremost benefit of fish oil for weight loss involves suppressing appetite and hunger. People hoping to lose weight and follow a weight loss diet often face the challenge of increased feelings of hunger. Taking fish oil may help feel fuller for a longer period.
A 2008 randomized controlled trial (RCT) published in Appetite concluded that intake of long-chain fatty acids can modulate postprandial satiety during weight loss in people who are clinically diagnosed as obese or overweight.
May help in fat loss and inches
Fish oil helps build lean muscle and lose body fat in people who regularly take it. In a 1997 clinical trial published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, researchers found that dietary fish oil intake can stimulate lipid oxidation and cut down body fat mass in healthy adults.
Metabolism is an important factor to look for in a weight loss program. It is measured by the metabolic rate, which determines how many calories a person burns each and every day. The more calories you can burn every day, the easier it is to shed extra body weight.
A 2015 study in Plos One revealed that 12 weeks of fish oil supplementation increased metabolic rate and lipid oxidation at rest in healthy older females who dwell in a community.
Other indirect benefits of fish oil for weight loss include:
- Helps in lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels
- May help lower stress hormone levels such as cortisol and adrenaline that are indirectly associated with unwanted weight gain
- helps decrease inflammation
- May help ameliorate insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of diabetes
How to use fish oil supplements
The dosages of fish oil supplements are individual and may vary from person to person depending on the current body state, age, medical history, and ongoing medications. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a licensed nutritionist or naturopathic practitioner to determine what dose would be right for your specific health condition.
However, in studies that demonstrated fish oil had a supportive effect on fat and weight loss, the dosages used per day ranged from 300 mg to 3000 mg. According to the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), supplemental intakes of fish oil that combine EPA and DHA at doses up to 5000 mg per day do not raise any safety concerns.
Precautions and side effects
Fish oil is generally safe for most people. Some people may experience side effects when taken in higher doses (typically more than 5000 mg per day). They may include abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and low blood pressure. But these are not common.
Fish oil may affect some prescription medications such as blood thinners and thus, if you have an existing health issue and you are on medications, talk to your healthcare professional prior to starting fish oil supplements. Besides, people who are allergic to fish should avoid fish oil supplements as well.
It’s always the best idea to consult with a licensed naturopath or nutritionist before adding fish oil supplements to your weight loss regimen, especially if you’re on medications, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Fish oil and the omega-3 fatty acid content it contains have potential benefits on weight loss along with various other health benefits, particularly related to heart health and brain health. Multiple studies suggest that intake of fish oil for weight loss could be an effective approach when combined with physical activity and proper lifestyle choices. Consider consulting with a certified naturopathic physician to determine whether it is right for you.
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