Slide Menu Navigation Slide Menu Navigation

Well and Good: Fish Oil and Weight Loss

If weight loss is among your New Year’s resolutions, you probably already are following a basic plan, and it probably essentially comes down to two things: Eat less. Move more.

But there may be one secret weapon you have not thought to include: Fish oil!

I already recommend fish oil supplements for most healthy adults, specifically because of their documented benefits to heart health. Taking omega-3 fish oil daily may help lower blood pressure; reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke; and lower “bad” cholesterol levels.

More recently, however, I’ve run across research that indicates fish oil supplements may also assist in weight loss. That’s because of several factors, outlined in a report I recently read by Carlson Laboratories, a leading supplier of nutritional  supplements. (Carlson Laboratories, by the way, was one of the companies recommended in the January 2012 issue of Consumer Reports, which tested top-selling fish oils.)

The biggest takeaways about fish oil and weight loss:

Omega-3 fish oil helps your body recognize it’s full: Of course, you know only to eat when you’re hungry. But especially if you’ve become used to over-eating or frequent snacking, you might not easily recognize the feeling of true hunger. The healthy fats in fish oil help your brain recognize the “full signal,” according to the National Institutes of Health. Additionally, fish oil consumption can trigger the release of leptin, a hormone that helps control appetite. When your leptin levels are low, you may feel hungrier and overeat.

Omega-3 fatty acids may help burn fat: The theory is that these “good” fats affect the enzymes that help your body burn fat. A recent study of obese adults indicated that those who took fish oil lost more weight than those who did not, especially belly fat. And a separate Australian study determined that subjects who took omega-3 fish oil and undertook moderate aerobic exercise also lost more weight. The conclusion? Fish oil can raise your metabolism rate, leading to faster weight loss.