Omega-3 fatty acids are dietary components necessary for optimal health. The body cannot produce omega-3 on its own, so it must be consumed in food. Fish and fish oil is rich in omega-3s, as is flaxseed, canola oil, soybeans, pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Increased omega-3 consumption can help to reduce fat stores and helps bolster weight loss efforts.
Consuming omega-3 fatty acids has been demonstrated to increase feelings of satiety, thus decreasing caloric intake and aiding in weight loss. Fish oil supplements high in the omega-3 polyunsaturated acids eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, and docosahexanoic acid, or DHA, were demonstrated in clinical studies to increase the feeling of satiety in overweight and obese women, according to the University of Connecticut International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium. Additional studies are necessary to determine if this same effect occurs in a more general population base, as well as whether the omega-3 fatty acid types found in nut and seed sources have a similar impact.
Reduce Fat Stores
Omega-3 fish oil supplements helped dieters lose more weight and reduce their fat stores further than dieters not taking fish oil supplements, according to the University of Connecticut. Taking fish oil supplements high in the EPA and DHA types of omega-3 fatty acids along with engaging in an exercise program significantly decreases body fat, reports the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus. Increasing omega-3 consumption can also help lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure, all of which are often present in obese individuals, especially those demonstrating obesity-related metabolic syndrome.
Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and can aid in reducing the risk of serious health disorders like heart disease and arthritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Omega-3's powerful anti-inflammatory effect can reduce the muscle fatigue and joint pain associated with exercise, according to the University of Connecticut. Exercise is a necessary component of a healthy weight-loss plan. Reducing the aches and pains that result from exercise can help individuals to exercise longer and more regularly, helping them to reach their weight-loss goals faster and with a higher level of fitness.
Depression and stress are both associated with weight gain, according to the Columbia University Health Services. Increasing omega-3 consumption may provide relief from symptoms of depression and increase the length of time between bouts of depression in people with bipolar disorder, according to the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus. Studies on this use of omega-3 have demonstrated mixed results, however, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Depression can be a serious medical condition; consult your physician and mental health practitioner before attempting to treat depression yourself with omega-3 supplements.
- University of Connecticut International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium: Omega-3 Fatty Acids--Weight Loss and Exercise
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- National Institutes of Health Medline Plus: Fish Oil
- University of Connecticut International Omega-3 Learning and Education Consortium; Omega-3 Fatty Acids--A Role in Reducing Obesity and Diabetes?; Jeffrey Kim et al.
- Net Wellness; Understanding Omega-3 and Omega-6; Glen F. Auckerman, MD; March 2, 2007
- Columbia University Health Services: Cortisol, Depression and Weight Loss