Fish Oil for Weight Loss
There has been surprising new evidence for using fish oil for weight loss. Lets see what this new research has to say.
Fish Oil is one of the world’s most popular dietary supplements. However, recent studies have indicated that it could be used for more than just brain benefits: it may also play a key role in weight loss.
What is Fish Oil?
Fish Oil is a popular nutritional supplement taken to boost brain function, alleviate depression, and reduce inflammation throughout the body.
The oil is derived from the tissues of fish like mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sturgeon. These oils are rich with omega-3 fatty acids, which are purported to play a critical role throughout the body – including your cardiovascular system, cholesterol, and brain.
The effectiveness of fish oil supplements is under a bit of debate: fish oil has indicated some big health benefits in many animal studies, but hasn’t demonstrated quite as much evidence in human trials.
Nevertheless, in one recent Japanese study, researchers found that fish oil has a significant connection with weight loss – in mice.
That study was published in a recent issue of Scientific Reports.
How Does Fish Oil Contribute to Weight Loss?
In the recent weight loss study, Japanese researchers fed two groups of mice fatty food. However, one group of mice had fish oil added to their food. The other did not.
The group that ate fish oil with their fatty diet gained significantly less weight and less fat compared to the other group without fish oil.
That group also had lower insulin and fasting glucose levels along with hotter core temperatures.
Those mice also were found to have higher energy levels. Scientists found that the mice fed fish oil burned more calories. This connection was thought to be related to an increase in brown fat, which is the type of fat that burns calories.
Fish Oil and UCP1
UCP1 is a protein that gets mentioned in a lot of modern diet pills and supplements.
In the fish oil study, UCP1 was found to play a critical role in the weight loss results of the fish oil. Here’s how UCP1 works:
— Cold temperatures activate brown fat
— Your hypothalamus detects these cooler temperatures, then activates the sympathetic nervous system
— When the sympathetic nervous system becomes activated, brown fat cells get the signal to generate heat by activating their protein called UCP1
— Researchers discovered that mice who took fish oil in the above study had significantly higher levels of UCP1 than the group that did not take fish oil
— UCP1 was also found in the white fat of the mice, although it’s typically found in a useless mass “not doing much” according to one researcher
— Researchers suspected that the mice who took fish oil had high levels of UCP1 in their fat because the fish oil may help turn white fat into brown fat
— Researchers followed up that theory by discovering that fish oil works on the receptor that activates UCP1. To confirm that research, they “knocked out” that particular receptor in mice and fed them fish oil. Without that receptor, the mice neither lost weight nor gained brown fat.
Ultimately, based on all of this information, researchers concluded that “This provides scientific evidence that fish oil can activate brown adipose tissue to burn fat and help with weight loss.”
Should You Buy Omega-3 Supplements to Lose Weight?
One doctor interviewed on Time about this study claimed that the results are preliminary and were performed in mice:
“The results are preliminary, and I wouldn’t rush to buy a bottle of omega-3 fatty acids to lose weight,”
That doctor did, however, claim that taking omega-3 supplements is an effective way to enjoy brain benefits.
He also cautioned that finding an omega-3 pill that could activate brown fat production in humans would require some new formulas and that “the science isn’t there yet”, but it’s obviously a target for nutritional supplement manufacturers in the future.
Ultimately, the fish oil for weight loss study mentioned above is great news for mice who want to lose weight – but the jury is still out on whether it’s good news for humans who want to lose weight.