New research shows that fish oil does not encourage weight loss in humans who diet and exercise, according to last month’s issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr Laura F DeFina and her team at the Cooper Institute in Dallas engaged a group of 128 sedentary overweight and obese participants partaking in a diet and exercise programme to study the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on weight loss.
The participants took five fish oil capsules, or about 3g of omega-3 fatty acids, or five placebo capsules daily for a period of 24 weeks. As well, it was requested that the participants do aerobic activity for 150 minutes per week and strength training for 20-30 minutes at least twice per week.
In both groups, the participants lost more than 5 per cent of their body weight. However, the researchers were unable to detect a difference between the groups except that the fish oil group showed higher levels of omega-3s in their blood. This rise generated "a positive cardiovascular effect," according to the researchers, reports The Independent.
Animal studies have demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acids do boost weight loss even though studies conducted on humans have bred mixed results, DeFina and her team pointed out, Reuters reports.
Even though omega-3 fish oil may not help humans shed weight, experts claim that adding the oil to one’s diet is greatly beneficial, as studies have shown that it helps prevent heart disease, depression and psychological problems.
A study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA) published in January 2010 argued that increasing the intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids lengthened the lifespan of people suffering from coronary heart disease.
Fish containing high levels of the healthy oils are salmon, bluefin tuna, mackerel, herring, rainbow trout, crustaceans, anchovies and sardines.
The Blue Ocean Institute is a conservation group offering advice on sustainable fish options, including an informative reference guide describing the abundance of fish species, categorising farmed versus wild fish and marking any health concerns.
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By Natalia Real