Omega-3 linked to lower body weight

July 30, 2009

Increased blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is linked to lower incidence of obesity, suggesting a role for fish oils in weight management. The new findings indicate that overweight and obese people have lower blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids than people with a healthy weight. A previous study has shown that fish oil capsules increase the amount of fat burnt if taken by a person before exercising.

The researchers, led by Professor Monohar Garg from the University of Newcastle and president elect of the Nutrition Society of Australia explain that “Previous studies involving children and adolescents have shown a negative correlation between adiposity and plasma omega-3 PUFA and DHA concentrations, but there appears to be a paucity of research in adults.”

The researchers recruited 124 people of varying weights: 21 were classified as having a healthy weight, according to their body mass index (BMI); 40 were classed as overweight; and 63 were obese. The researchers note that people who consumed omega-3 supplements were excluded from their study. Blood samples were taken after the subjects fasted for at least ten hours. Prof Garg and his co-workers recorded an inverse relationship between total omeg-3 blood levels, as well as blood levels of DHA and EPA, with BMI, the subjects waist size, and their hip circumference. Indeed, obese people had omega-3 levels of 4.53 per cent, compared to 5.25 per cent in their healthy-weight peers. When the researchers classed the people according to their omega-3 levels, and not by their weight, they again observed that increased omega-3 levels were associated with a healthier BMI, a smaller waist, and a lower hip size. [Other] studies, along with our observations, suggest that omega-3 PUFA supplementation may play an important role in preventing weight gain and improving weight loss when omega-3 PUFA are supplemented concomitantly with a structured weight-loss programme, wrote the researchers. The study is published online ahead of print in the British Journal of Nutrition. Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.PH.; Although this study does not prove cause and effect previous studies show the correlation is plausible. Human studies show that Fish Oils improve satiety, enhance calorie burning with exercise, and improve the oxidation of fat.