Fish oil is one of the most widely available and commonly recommended supplements on the market today. This supplement is known for its numerous health benefits. However, one of its biggest claims to fame is its ability to aid in weight loss. Those who are looking to lose weight know the task isn’t easy, so a natural supplement that can aid in the process is a welcome option for many. Fortunately, for most individuals, fish oil is a safe, effective addition to a healthy, balanced diet that can boost their weight loss efforts. Learn more about the benefits of fish oil for weight loss and determine if it will help you achieve your goals.
How Does Fish Oil for Weight Loss Work?
Fish oil is rich in two important omega-3 fats EPA and DHA. These two omega-3 fats play a role in many of the body’s important functions. They can boost weight loss in a number of ways.
1. Control Appetite
One of the biggest benefits of fish oil for weight loss is the supplement’s role in regulating hunger and appetite. This advantage is especially beneficial for those individuals who are primarily using diet to lose weight. Research indicates that taking a fish oil supplement will help you feel “significantly fuller” for up to two hours or meal following a meal. While more research is needed to make a conclusive recommendation, it is likely that incorporating a daily fish oil supplement will help you feel less hungry and, therefore, consume fewer calories.
2. Boost Metabolism
Fish oil has also been found beneficial in boosting the metabolism, which helps your body burn more calories each day. To put it simply, burning more calories makes it easier to drop weight and avoid regaining it. One study suggested that individuals who consumed at least 6 grams of fish oil each day for a period of 12 weeks experienced a metabolic increase of nearly 4%.
3. Increase Impact of Exercise
The benefit of fish oil for weight loss doesn’t stop at just helping you burn extra calories every day. In fact, the supplement may even help you get more benefit from the amount of time you spend in the gym. Current research indicates that taking fish oil may actually increase the number of calories as well as the amount of fat your body burns during exercise. It is believed that this phenomenon is the result of your body making the switch from carbohydrates to fat as a fuel source during your workout routine. In any case, burning extra calories and fat should make it easier to lose weight and get the lean, sculpted look most people are going for.
4. Convert Fat to Muscle
Some individuals may not see a big difference on the scale after adding fish oil into their supplement regimen. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not working for them. For some individuals the biggest benefit of fish oil is that the nutritional support helps the body more effectively burn fat and build muscle. If that’s the case for you, you’ll likely see very little if any change in your weight because your body is losing fat at the same rate it is gaining muscle. If you want to get a more accurate representation of the benefits of fish oil for your body type, consider taking more precise measurements of your body fat as well.
How to Use Fish Oil for Weight Loss
If you are considering adding fish oil to your daily regimen, you can do so in the form of a supplement or by tweaking your diet. The UMMC recommends taking no more than 3 grams of fish oil a day. Take note that fish oil has blood thinning effects and may increase bleeding in some individuals.
If you do choose a supplement, be sure to look for one that has been tested by a third-party to verify its purity. Also, look for one that has 50% EPA and DHA to get the biggest benefit from the supplement. For example, you’d want an option that has 500 mg of EPA and DHA for a combined 1000 mg of fish oil.
You can, however, just as easily add omega-3 rich foods into your diet on a regular basis to get the same health benefits. Consuming an omega-3 rich fish two times a week would give you the recommended amount. Good fish options include tuna, salmon, mackerel, and herring. Other good sources of healthy omega-3 fats are flaxseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, soy oil, and soy foods.
A Word of Caution about Using Fish Oil for Weight Loss
As with any nutritional supplement, you do need to take necessary precautions and be aware of possible interactions of fish oil. At large, fish oil is generally considered safe for most individuals if taken in low doses – the recommended 3 grams or less per day. If you take more than 3 grams a day, you may increase your risk for clotting issues as well as your chance of bleeding. Additionally, high doses of fish oil may actually reduce your body’s immune function, making it more difficult for your body to fight infection.
Some individuals experience side effects upon taking the supplement. Common side effects include halitosis, belching, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, rash, and nosebleeds. Taking your supplement with food or freezing it prior to consumption may help with these issues.
Fish oil may cause complications if you have any of the following conditions:
- Bipolar disorder.
- Liver disease.
- Familial adenomatous polyposis.
- High blood pressure.
- Implanted defibrillator.
- Fish/seafood allergy.
Likewise, fish oil may interact with certain medication, including:
- Contraceptive drugs.
- High blood pressure medication.
- Anticoagulant/antiplatelet drugs.
The Bottom Line
Fish oil is a natural supplement that is generally considered safe for most individuals. The supplement is rich in omega-3 fats that have been linked to several weight loss benefits, including appetite control, faster metabolism, and greater exercise benefit. It is important to take the appropriate amount of fish oil for weight loss. However, be sure to take no more than the recommended 3 grams per day. Always consult your doctor before starting any weight loss supplement or regimen.
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