Researchers from Japan recently discovered that omega-3-rich fish oil could reduce body weight gain by boosting fat metabolism – in mice at least.
Laboratory mice fed a high fat diet and supplemented with eight per cent fish oil gained less weight and metabolised more fat than their counterparts not receiving the supplement.
The study adds to the ever-growing list of health benefits linked to omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids – such as improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Omega-3 fatty acids and weight loss: Assessing the results
Lead researcher Takuya Mori and co-workers from the Biological Science Laboratories, Kao Corporation, Tochigi, fed obesity-prone C57BL/6J mice the diet with 30 per cent of calories from fat for five months, with half the animals supplemented with fish oil (eight per cent).
At the end of the study, the researchers reported that the fish oil-supplemented group exhibited increased levels of lipid metabolism-related genes, including carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1a, cytochrome P450 4A10, and malic enzyme.
Moreover, fish oil ingestion boosted the activity of enzymes related to metabolism. Specifically, enzymes related to fatty acid beta-oxidation, omega-oxidation, and malic were 1.2-, 1.6-, and 1.7-fold higher in the fish oil-supplemented diet, compared to those only receiving the high fat diet.
The researchers said: “These findings suggest that an up-regulation of intestinal lipid metabolism is associated with the anti-obesity effect of FO.”
More compelling research on the benefits of omega-3s and weight-loss
Back in May, Australian researchers reported that a combination of fish oil supplements and exercise led to reductions in fat mass by about 1.5 kg, as well as improving heart health markers.
The researchers, from the University of South Australia in Adelaide, studied 75 overweight adults (age range 25-65). They reported that subjects who received daily fish oil supplements (260 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and 60 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)) exhibited decreased blood triacylglycerols levels (14 per cent) and increased plasma HDL cholesterol levels (10 per cent) relative to baseline amounts.
That’s not all, US researchers from the University of Georgia reported in November 2006 that the omega-3 fatty acid DHA could affect adoptosis (programmed cell death) and significantly decrease the accumulation of fat in the preadipocytes in a dose-dependent manner and the development (differentiation) of mature adipocytes in culture.
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American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 85, pp. 1267-1274
Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 136, pp. 2965-2969
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