Fish oil is a staple supplement for people struggling with high cholesterol and vitamin deficiencies. Regular fish oil contains high amounts of Vitamin D, a nutrient that’s hard to find in food sources. A different kind, cod liver oil, is known as a rich source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. This has made it a popular way to lower bad cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Some companies have taken this on a tangent and started marketing fish oil for weight loss. Unlike many other fads, this one actually has sound science behind it. Fish oil has been shown in studies to have positive effects on the three main facets of weight problems: metabolism, genetic obesity, and weight control.
Among other things, metabolism affects how soon we get hungry again after a meal. However, this doesn’t always hold true: we’ve all felt a dull hunger at times when we’ve just eaten. This happens because the brain doesn’t receive the right signals saying that you’re full. The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil help these signals get through, and also drive away hunger signals that make you want to eat more. In addition, omega-3 helps increase the production of leptin, a type of hormone that regulates metabolism.
The concept of genetic obesity—“the fat gene”—has gained ground in recent years with new studies supporting the theory. Researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago found that feeding lab rats a diet with no omega-3 gave birth to obese children after only three generations. This suggests that omega-3 sources such as fish oil not only helps you lose weight, but also sets your future children on the right path.
Finally, fish oil has been proven effective in controlling weight. It’s a known fact that this means more than burning more calories than you eat. Specifically, certain enzymes in your body control how much fat you burn with exercise. In a study involving a group of obese adults doing aerobic exercise three times a week, it was shown that regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids helped boost weight loss particularly in the abdomen. Researches explain that omega-3s activate these weight-loss enzymes, and combined with regular physical activity, it increases the bod’s fat-burning capacity.
This doesn’t mean that fish oil can replace proper diet and exercise altogether. These two are still the cornerstone of weight loss and overall health. But it’s an excellent companion and a great way to see the effects more quickly—and for most people, seeing change as it happens is all the motivation they need.