Is it advisable to take fish oil while losing weight? Do drugs on its basis help to lose excess weight? And if so, how much can we lose weight by taking fish oil?
If you do not live in a cave or a remote taiga, away from civilization and sources of information, then you have heard about the beneficial properties of fish oil and food additives based on it. Moreover, it seems that all the medicinal properties of the product, such as lowering blood cholesterol, strengthening the heart, skin, nervous system and joints (the list of beneficial properties of fish oil can be continued indefinitely), we can add direct participation in the fight against overweight.
The beneficial effect of fish oil on the human body is explained by the high content of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the product, also known as omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). At least half a dozen human studies and more than two dozen animal experiments conducted over the past ten years have confirmed the efficacy of omega-3 acids in terms of weight loss. That's just the effect is not as pronounced as we are trying to imagine.
Effect of fish oil on weight loss
Not so long ago, the results of the latest research on the effect of fish oil on the process of losing weight were presented to the general public. In the first study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, researchers from Reykjavik, Iceland, studied the effect on weight and fat percentage of a low-calorie diet in combination with a daily intake of fish oil equivalent to 1,5 g EPA / DHA.
In the experiment, 324 participated in an overweight man and woman who, during 8 weeks, took one of four products:
- Sunflower oil in capsules (control group)
Based on the results of the experiment, scientists came to the following conclusion:
"In young people with overweight inclusion in the diet of both lean and fatty fish or fish oil in combination with a low-calorie diet in 4 weeks allowed participants to lose 1 kg more than in the control group with a similar diet, but without seafood or fish preparations fat. Adding to a balanced low-calorie diet of seafood can accelerate the process of reducing body weight. "
It should be noted that this research work was carried out with the support of seafood producers, and some inaccuracies were made in the preparation of the experimental protocols, which could subsequently affect the subject of study.
The second study was conducted under the auspices of the University of South Australia and was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In the experiment, the effect on the body weight of fish oil intake in combination with regular aerobic loads was studied.
In the 12-week placebo-controlled study, participants were divided into 4 groups:
Participants from the 3 and 4 groups daily took 6 g fish oil with a high content of DHA, which corresponded to 1,9 g of omega-3 fatty acids with long chains. Participants from the fourth group performed aerobic exercise three times a week for 45 minutes.
As you might guess, the greatest success was achieved by those who took fish oil in combination with aerobic exercise:
- Minus 1,2% fat mass (in comparison with the lack of dynamics in other groups)
Unfortunately, even in this experiment there were some shortcomings: participants independently fixed the diet, which, as is known, inevitably leads to inaccuracies in the results.
In one of the early studies, the results were similar in qualitative, but more modest in quantitative terms: participants daily receiving 1,8 g EPA / DHA, lost about 1 kg, while members of the control group (without fish oil) were able to lose not more than 300-350
In recent years, several other human experiments have been conducted on the effects of fish oil on the process of weight loss, and in most cases encouraging results have been recorded. In general, the data obtained are quite convincing, in addition, there are several plausible theories explaining the mechanism of action of the components of fish oil.
But, unfortunately, more and more often you can encounter representatives of fitness, health and food industry, who make too presumptuous, premature and excessive statements about the degree of influence of fish oil on weight loss; statements that are not confirmed by scientific experiments.
The study of the effect of fish oil on the process of losing weight really led to encouraging results, but most of these experiments were conducted on animals (rats, mice and hamsters). Almost all of the inadequacies and shortcomings in our study have been made, including: insufficient sample size, short duration of the experiment, statistically unreliable results, lack of randomization, lack of control groups, inaccurate compositional analysis of the composition body tissues, measurement error, self-report on diet, inadequate control of compliance with experimental conditions, involvement in research work fish industry or food additive manufacturers.
And even if we accept the results of the studies, the mass loss will not be so impressive – an additional half a kilo here, another half a kilogram there.
In many experiments, the organizers had difficulty in getting to the threshold of statistical certainty. In addition, there are doubts about the role of fish oil: perhaps it's all about eliminating the existing deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids and normalizing the balance of omega-3 and omega-6, so whether there will be further progress, or is it just a one-stage improvement?
Of course, you certainly want to use all the tools that help to reduce weight, and since fish oil helps prevent cardiovascular diseases and has many other beneficial properties, introducing salmon, trout, salmon, herring or mackerel into the diet at least twice a week does not seem so already a crazy idea.
As an alternative source of omega-3 fatty acids, you can take preparations based on fish oil, and vegetarians and people who do not eat fish can recommend flaxseed oil, a plant source of alpha-linolenic acid, which in our body is converted to EPA and DHA the effectiveness and extent of this conversion, however, is the subject of scientific disputes).
Based on the results of the three studies above, it can be concluded that 1,5-2,0 g of the EPA / DHA complex in the correct ratio helps in the fight against excess weight. Although many believe that when choosing a dosage, you need to take into account the body weight, namely, take 1 g fish oil for every 20 kg of weight, so that a large guy will need at least 5 g.
In most cases, the fish oil capsule contains 1000 mg 30% of the drug, so, taking five such capsules daily, you get 1,5 g EPA / DHA; about the same amount you will give 150-gram portion of salmon.
Note: Another study examined the effect on body weight of EPA / DHA in doses of 3,0 and 4,0 g per day, but the American Association of Cardiologists does not recommend taking more than 3 g per day without medical monitoring, as drug interactions and side effects can not be ruled out in the form of an increase in clotting time. The results of this study suggest that an increase in the daily intake of fish oil does not lead to an acceleration in weight loss, so do not get too involved with increasing dosage.
Another note: do not pursue the high price of premium products. A high price is not a sign of premium quality. The quality and purity of the product is certainly important, but you can purchase a molecular-free, mercury-free, dioxin and organochlorine compound and tested on innovative equipment at a reasonable price.
What do we have in the dry residue? Fish oil really helps to fight with extra pounds, especially in combination with physical activity, which has a similar effect. However, it is not worthwhile to pin hopes on fish oil and count on it as a magical fat burner. This simply does not correspond to reality.
Remember the words of Agent Mulder from the series of the nineties "X-Files"? "I want to believe" . but we need more facts, new research works are needed. Only in this way will we be able to arrive at definitive conclusions concerning the effect of fish oil and food additives on its basis on the body weight, on the quantitative and qualitative composition of the tissues of the human body.