Omega 3 is probably a weight loss supplement that you have heard about. This makes you wonder if an omega-3 fish oil supplement is responsible for slim waistlines and hourglass figures. But it seems impossible.
Can Omega-3 help you lose weight quickly? You want to know whether there is any scientific evidence to support this claim.
Among the most common supplements on the market are fish oil supplements. Omega 3 fatty acids are packed into them, and they are available in a variety of brands. Omega 3 consumption is associated with a number of health benefits.
It is still unclear whether Omega 3 plays a role in weight loss. In order to help you decide whether Omega 3 is effective for weight loss, we have compiled relevant and recent scientific studies.
What is Omega-3 Fish Oil?
Fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acids, is a food supplement that offers multiple benefits, including a healthier heart and cardiovascular system, better brain function, and anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
This makes it an essential part of your dietary intake, but you can supplement it if you suspect that you are not incorporating enough into your normal diet.
There are two types of Omega 3 fatty acids that are widely studied:
- Essential Omega 3 fatty acids: The only essential Omega 3 fatty acid is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in plants.
- Long-chain Omega 3 fatty acids: The EPA and DHA in fish oil and seafood are long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Diet is the only source of ALA. The body can produce EPA and DHA using ALA. EPA and DHA are not efficiently produced by the human body. A small amount of ALA is needed. Fish oil supplements are popular because of this.
Your body needs fats, despite what you may believe. It is not all fat that is fattening – some fats play crucial roles in the body. The body cannot function without these fats. Your body requires omega 3 in order to function normally.
Most health and fitness gurus have talked about “bad” and “good” fats. Omega 3 is good fat. Rather than explain carbon bonds scientifically, here is a simplified version of good fats and bad fats.
Can Omega-3 Fish Oil Help You Lose Weight?
Omega-3 Fish Fish Oil May Help You Lose Fat
Some people may not lose weight by taking fish oil omega-3s, but they may build muscle and lose body fat by taking them.
Weighing yourself on a scale can sometimes be misleading. Despite gaining muscle and losing fat, it may remain the same.
It’s for this reason that people who want to lose weight are often encouraged to use a tape measure or to track their body fat percentages rather than relying solely on their scales to assess their progress.
Some studies have failed to find an effect of fish oil omega-3s on weight loss when weight loss is measured by body weight. However, studies that measure fat loss more precisely often tell a different story.
An analysis of 44 people found that those taking fish oil failed to lose more weight than those taking a placebo.
Nevertheless, the fish oil group lost 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) more fat and built 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) more muscle than those without fish oil.
A study in which six healthy adults replaced six grams of fat in their diets with fish oil each day for three weeks found fish oil to be an effective fat replacement. Despite losing more body fat, they didn’t lose more weight following the fish oil-rich diet.
According to another small study, people taking 3 grams of fish oil per day lost 1.3 pounds (0.6 kg) more fat than those who took a placebo. Participants’ body weight, however, remained the same.
A review of 21 studies concluded that fish oil is not more effective at reducing body weight than a placebo. Fish oil reduces waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio more effectively, however, as shown by a review.
In other words, fish oil may not help you lose weight per se, but it may help you lose inches and go down a size in clothing.
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Curb Hunger and Appetite
Dieters often feel hungry when on a weight loss diet. Taking omega-3 fish oil supplements can help suppress hunger. Although the hunger-suppressing effect of this nutrient varies according to one’s health and metabolism.
A study showed that Omega 3 fatty acids can reduce the risk of overweight and obesity in overweight and obese individuals. Participants in the control group consumed a diet low in nutrients. The objective of this research was to determine if Omega 3 consumption affects food intake. There was a positive correlation between consuming Omega 3 rich foods and feeling less hungry.
A second study gave fish oil supplements to healthy adults and monitored their appetites. A soybean oil placebo was given to the control group. There was a reduced feeling of fullness and a greater desire to eat among fish oil users.
Conflicting research findings have been found regarding the effects of Omega 3 on hunger and appetite suppression. An overweight or obese person may be more likely to benefit from it, according to one study.
According to research, Omega 3 is a weight loss supplement that suppresses appetite in people with metabolic syndrome.
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Improve Metabolism
You may also lose weight by increasing your metabolism when taking fish oil omega-3s.
You can measure your metabolism by your metabolic rate, which determines the number of calories you burn each day.
It is easier to lose weight and keep it off when your metabolic rate is higher.
In one small study, healthy young adults who took 6 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks saw their metabolic rate increase by about 3.8%.
The metabolic rate of healthy older women who took 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks increased by 14%, which is equal to burning 187 additional calories per day.
A study found that healthy adults who took 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks had a 5.3% increase in metabolic rate.
An increase in muscle mass was also reported in most studies reporting an increase in metabolic rates. Increased muscle mass may explain these studies’ higher metabolic rates since muscle burns more calories than fat.
However, this effect has not been observed in all studies. To fully understand fish oil’s effects on metabolism, more research is needed.
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Enhance the Effects of Exercise
Increasing your daily calorie burn may not be the only metabolic effect of fish oil.
Studies suggest that fish oil consumption may also increase the amount of calories and fat you burn during exercise.
During exercise, fish oil may help your body switch from burning carbohydrates to fat for energy.
According to one study, women who consumed 3 grams of fish oil per day for 12 weeks burned 10% more calories and 19–27% more fat when exercising.
It may explain why some studies found that taking fish oil supplements along with exercise reduced body fat more effectively than exercising alone.
Other studies, however, have found that fish oil does not seem to affect how the body uses fuel during exercise. More research is needed to draw firm conclusions.
Omega-3 Fish Oil May Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Taking fish oil may also increase insulin sensitivity.
Food provides proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to our bodies. An important role of insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, is in the metabolism of those nutrients. By signalling the liver to convert glucose into glycogen and store it in cells, it accomplishes this.
Insulin sensitivity is the ability of the body to tolerate insulin. Insulin sensitivity means that your body responds well to this hormone. You won’t need as much insulin to store glucose as someone who has insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is characterized by low insulin sensitivity. This occurs when the body’s cells fail to respond adequately to insulin. To store glucose, the body, therefore, needs a great deal of insulin.
As a result, insulin begins to store excess glucose, resulting in fat storage in the body cells.
Having too many carbs can spike insulin. High levels of carbohydrates are dangerous since the body can only store a limited amount of carbohydrates.
Additionally, insulin resistance can lead to inflammation.
I have also reviewed a lot of other weight loss supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fish Oil
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids – the “healthy fats” that are vital for brain and heart health. They also act as natural anti-inflammatory agents that help ease aching joints and heal injuries. Adequate amounts of these healthy fats are hard to get from dietary sources alone; hence, people choose to supplement with fish oil pills.
Taking one or two pills each day provides more than what is in two servings of salmon or tuna, which is the recommended weekly minimum amount to get a sufficient supply of fatty acids through food.
What omega-3 fatty acids basically do is build cell membranes, but more than this, they reduce blood triglycerides (lipids or fats that make arteries harden).
Thus, they play a great role in preventing atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and many other cardiovascular problems. They are also known to protect against many other common diseases, such as arthritis, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression, psychosis, attention deficit- hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), cancers, and degenerative ailments.
Fish oil supplements are typically made from fish like mackerel, tuna, halibut, salmon, and herring, as well as from cod liver and whale or seal blubber. Some supplements are derived from plants, but these aren’t as complete as those from fish sources.
A slight amount of vitamin E may be present in the supplements to increase their shelf life. Certain fish oil supplements are also fortified with some minerals (especially iron or calcium) and vitamins (A, D, and B complex), making for a more complete dietary supplement.
Uses of Omega-3 Fish Oil
As mentioned, fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids help greatly to strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, the brain and cognitive function, and the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of the body.
Here are other uses of omega-3 fish oil supplements in addition to those already discussed earlier:
- They reduce pain and swelling. As such, they are helpful in relieving many problems, including arthritis, psoriasis, as well as menstrual pain and cramps.
- They help prevent blood clots.
- They aid in the management or treatment of diabetes, asthma, dyslexia, kidney ailments, and osteoporosis.
- They improve the eyesight of older people and help treat vision problems like glaucoma, dry eyes, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- They can help prevent weight loss associated with cancer, HIV, and other terminal illnesses.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Form and Dosage
Fish oil supplements are often taken in pill or soft-gel capsule form. The usual recommendation is to take 1 to 2 grams daily. Supplements made from fish are generally better than those that are derived from plants.
The former usually contain the two most important omega-3 fatty acids, which are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two components aren’t always present in plant-derived supplements. A good supplement contains at least 500 mg of EPA and another 500 mg of DHA.
Just for comparison, a fillet of wild salmon can contain up to 4 grams of omega- 3 fatty acids, but a portion of this is lost in food preparation.
You should eat at least two servings of fish every week (especially salmon, tuna, and mackerel), along with nuts, flaxseeds, avocado, and other foods rich in fatty acids every day in order to get adequate amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in your normal diet.
When Is the Best Time to Take Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement for Weight Loss?
Omega 3 supplements for weight loss can be taken at any time of day.
There is some evidence, however, that fatty meals are beneficial to Omega 3 absorption. One study found that fat-rich meals were conducive to the efficient absorption of Omega 3 fatty acids. According to another study, low-fat meals inhibit nutrient absorption.
Your diet determines when you should take Omega 3. Do not take the supplement after eating a low-fat breakfast. Take it with your lunch or dinner.
In order to prevent gastrointestinal side effects, you may want to take these supplements at different times during the day.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement Precautions and Side Effects
Taking Omega-3 fish oil supplements is as safe as eating fish, which means that they are safe for everyone. All adults, including pregnant and breastfeeding women and elderly people, don’t have anything to worry about as regards this supplement.
However, one should avoid taking more than 3 grams per day, as this can lead to excessive bleeding in case of cuts and other accidents.
This can also further weaken the immune system of older people and those who are taking medications that suppress immune function.
Those who have any of the health issues listed below should consult their doctor before taking fish oil supplements. The supplements might interact with the drugs that they are taking for their disorder.
- Bipolar disorder
- Liver disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- HIV, AIDS, and other disorders that weaken the immune system
Those who have these disorders can still take fish oil supplements, but their doctor might need to adjust the dosages of either their present medications or that of the fish oil supplements they’ll take.
Omega-3 fish oil supplements may also be taken by vegans and vegetarians who might otherwise not have the supply of fish oil in their systems. However, this is down to individual choice.
If you believe that you can benefit from fish oils, do talk to your medical provider, who may be able to suggest the correct dosage for your particular case.
Omega-3 Fish Oil Alternatives: Food Sources
Omega 3 fatty acids are found in both plant and animal sources. Below you can see the nutrient sources and how much Omega 3 they contain.
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) occurs in canola oil, dark green leaves, flax, hemp seed, soybean, and walnuts.
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) occurs in fish (such as albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines), lamb, and nuts.
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) occurs in fish (such as albacore tuna, mackerel, salmon, and sardines), lamb, and nuts.
- Stearidonic acid (also known as moroctic acid) occurs in black currant seeds.
Final Words: Should You Take Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplement?
By increasing your metabolism and promoting fat burning, omega-3 fatty acids can help you lose weight. They can also help you build muscle.
Study results, however, indicate that these effects are modest, and they may not be applicable to all.
The best source of this nutrient is fatty fish, but supplements can be an option as well. Before purchasing Omega 3 supplements, it is recommended that you carefully read the label.
When combined with lifestyle factors like regular physical activity and proper nutrition, fish oil omega-3s are likely to produce the greatest health benefits.