Does Fish Oil Help You Lose Belly Fat?

If you are suffering from excess belly fat, you may want to increase your fish oil intake. Fish oils contain a fatty acid known as omega-3 which cannot be produced by the body and must therefore be taken in through food. Omega-3 has a range of health benefits and may help against inflammation, coronary heart disease, cancer and also helps increase overall fat loss, even though no supplement specifically targets the belly.

Close-up of fish oil supplements. Credit: maska82/iStock/Getty Images

Fat Loss

The omega-3 fatty acid in fish oils can have fat burning benefits and can also cause your body to reduce the amount of body fat it stores. Omega-3 contains eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid and linolenic acid. According to AminoAcidStudies.com, fatty acids can aid in the breakdown of fat while simultaneously reducing additional fat storage. Fish rich in omega-3 include tuna, halibut and salmon.

Research

The "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" published a study in 2007 examining the effects of fish oil and exercise on the breakdown of body fat. Overweight subjects with high cholesterol were given 6 grams of tuna daily for 12 weeks. On top of this they also walked for 45 minutes every day. After 12 weeks the results showed reduced triacylglycerols, a fatty acid responsible for the hardening of arteries; both exercise and fish oil were independently shown to reduce body fat mass. Fish oils also help to decrease blood sugar levels, according to the National Institute of Health. When blood sugar levels are high, the body produces insulin which prevents fat loss. By reducing blood sugar levels, fish oils help to prevent a surge of insulin in the body further aiding in fat loss.

Muscle Growth

Muscle aids in fat loss as it burns significantly more calories than fat as it helps to speed up the metabolism. Therefore, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz at Sharecare.com, the more muscle mass you possess, the more calories you will burn throughout the day. Fish oils can help to increase muscle gains. According to a study published in the "Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition" in 2010, gains in lean muscle mass were seen after six weeks of supplementation of fish oils.

Other Benefits

According to the National Institute of Health, fish oils can provide a host of other health benefits. Fish oils likely to be effective for preventing heart disease, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis, menstrual pain, raynaud's syndrome, stroke, weak bones, kidney problems, bipolar disorder and psychosis.

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