Omega 3 and Weight Loss Explained

A recent study links omega 3 and weight loss.

In a 3 week trial of 75 individuals who were overweight or obese, it showed that taking fish oil supplements alongside regular 'aerobic' exercise, can assist people to lose body fat.

The growing trend of Omega 3 benefits to health means that supplements rich in fish oils and flaxseed varieties - are gaining popularity.

It's also a clever marketing technique to link omega 3 and weight loss as well as to the benefits of lowering cholesterol and promoting 'healthy heart'.

Nevertheless, it's an odd fact that in order to LOSE excess body fat, you need to EAT certain fats. This is where the link between omega 3 and weight loss comes in.

While it's true that some fats are not good for you, others are absolutely essential for losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet.

There are some fats that are termed "essential" fats and these include the omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

In the body, these are used to make hormones that are responsible for regulating the major body functions, including digestion, insulin production and the storage of fat.

Because the body cannot make these essential fatty acids, it needs to get these from the diet.

In the study linking omega 3 and weight loss, the group of 75 was first split into two groups, one on a diet rich in fish oils and the other half taking the same amount of oil, but sunflower oil, which does not contain any omega n-3 fatty acids.

Both groups were then also split with one lot doing regular exercise (each week doing three 45 minutes runs at 75% max. heart rate) and the other taking no extra exercise.

After already 21 days, the group that were given the fish oil and had done the exercise showed a decrease in their percentage body fat plus on average a 2kg (4.5lb) weight loss over the period.

That's pretty impressive results linking omega 3 and weight loss, given that this amount of exercise is the recommended minimum for health fitness, and all other aspects of their diet remained the same!

So how can this be?

Omega-3 fatty acids activate substances responsible for mobilising and burning fat.

When you combine omega-3 with exercise and increased oxygen intake (hence the need to do 'aerobic' type activities), they increase blood flow to the muscles and boost the body's metabolic rate to mobilise and burn more fat.

The result: increased weight loss.

Many studies show that one of the key reasons why omega 3 has such a powerful effect on fat metabolism is that it significantly lowers insulin levels.

Insulin is a hormone that reduces the use of fat for fuel, while also promoting fat storage in the presence of excess calories.

See my page Diabetes Diet for more on effects of insulin on weight control and refer to my Low Carb Diets for diet advice for controlling insulin.

If you read my Omega 3 Benefits page, you'll understand that taking supplements might not have the desired weight loss effect.

You need the right combination of different types of omega 3 fatty acids that comes from multiple sources - e.g. mixing fish, flaxseed and other sources.

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