Will fish oil supplements help with weight loss?

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Natasha Turner, ND
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Research supports that fish oil is a vital component of any fat loss program. The proof is in the science: When Peter Howe and his colleagues at the University of South Australia studied the effects of diet and exercise on the body, they found fish oil supplements and exercise made for a powerful fat-loss combination. During the study, overweight and obese adults with metabolic syndrome, and thus a greater risk of heart disease, took omega-3 fish oil daily in combination with moderate aerobic exercise three times a week for 12 weeks. Body fat stores, particularly abdominal fat, were significantly reduced in the fish-oil-plus-exercise group, but not in those who used fish oil or exercise alone. The insulin-sensitizing ability of DHA, the anti-inflammatory benefits of EPA, and the fat burning benefits of both make choosing a supplement containing significant amounts of each a good idea.

In addition, fish oil has been show to preserve lean muscle tissue. Supplementing the diet with fish oil may prevent the muscle loss that commonly occurs in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. The trial involved 16 patients who took fish oil (2.2 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid/day) and 24 patients who did not. Patients who did not take fish oil lost an average of 2.3 kilograms whereas patients receiving fish oil maintained their weight. What’s even more interesting is that 69 percent of patients in the fish oil group gained or maintained muscle mass. Remember, muscle is metabolically active and burns calories even while you sleep. Bottom line: Adding in fish oil will help preserve muscle, even while dieting.
 

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Dietary Supplements

Whether you're visiting the drug store, grocery or natural food shop you'll likely find an aisle where there are jars and bottles of things for you to put in your body that are neither foods nor medicines. Ranging from vitamins an...

d minerals to fiber and herbal remedies, these supplements are not regulated in the same way as either food or medicine. Some of them are backed by solid research, others are folk remedies or proprietary cures. If your diet does not include enough of certain vitamins or minerals, a supplement may be a good idea. Natural treatment for conditions like constipation may be effective. But because these substances are unregulated, it is always a good idea to educate yourself about the products and to use common sense when taking them. This is even more true if you are pregnant or taking a medicine that may be affected by supplements.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.