Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that the omega-3 fish oils—EPA and DHA—offer a number of health benefits, such as their ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. They can reduce harmful cholesterol and inhibit the inflammatory responses linked to many diseases, including cancer. There is now reliable scientific evidence that essential fatty acids found in fish oils can help reduce bodyfat.
In a 12-week study conducted at the University of South Australia, researchers found that overweight-to-obese adults lost significantly more fat mass when fish-oil supplements were coupled with exercise vs. exercise and/or fish-oil supplementation alone. Peter Howe, Ph.D., lead author, concluded that omega-3 fatty acids have the ability to jump-start specific enzymes that play a key role in the oxidation, or burning, of fats. He went on to say that enzymes “activated by omega-3 fatty acids, however, need a driver, which is exercise.”
In the study one group took six grams of fish oil daily, equaling 260 milligrams of DHA and 60 milligrams of EPA in each one-gram capsule. The moderate-level exercise went on for 45 minutes daily.
Omega-3 oils can also help you maintain more lean muscle tissue by optimizing the use of amino acids and increasing protein metabolism. They offer added protection against obesity-related disorders, like insulin resistance, elevated low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL—the bad kind) and elevated triglycerides.
In a report on the health of Inuit Eskimos who take in an enormous amount of omega-3 fats, researchers found that essential fatty acids blocked the metabolic action of agents known as obesity-produced cytokines. Found in fat tissue, they’re highly inflammatory and are implicated in vascular damage, which can cause death in the very obese. Taking a lot of omega-3s can put the brakes on the destruction they can cause. In fact, fish-oil supplements may reduce your risk of cardiovascular mortality by as much as 45 percent.
Researchers in France studying the effect of omega-3 fish oil in obese diabetic patients reported that 1.8 grams of omega-3s administered for two months significantly reduced total bodyfat and the diameter of fat cells just below the surface of the skin.