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Researchers at the University of Newcastle in Callaghan , Australia have found another connection linking having lower levels fish oil omega-3 fatty acids and obesity. The researchers recruited 124 men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 for the current study. Fasting plasma samples were analyzed for EPA, DHA, and the total level of omega-3 fatty acids. Weight, waist circumference, and hip circumference were measured, and body mass index (BMI), waist to hip ratio, fat mass, and fat free mass were determined. Subjects were categorized as being a healthy weight, overweight, or obese.
Obese subjects were found to have significantly lower plasma total omega-3 fatty acid level compared to those of healthy weight subjects. For those in the obese group, lower total omega-3 fatty acids, and lower EPA and DHA separately were correlated with greater body mass index, waist circumference and hip circumference. No significant correlations were observed in the healthy weight and overweight groups.
The authors write that several mechanisms may account for the protective effect of omega-3 fatty acids and their link to leanness. Fish oils have been found to increase metabolic fat burning and they are also linked to a since of being satisfied after a meal controlling hunger. The study is published in the November, 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition .