A recent study highlights a potential benefit of fish oil in reducing fat cell size. Researchers studied the effect of adding an omega-3 fat to the diet of mice and observing the effects. They wanted to determine if there was a beneficial effect in regards to the adipose (fat) tissue in these animals (1).
As you know, fish oil is an Omega-3 fat. It is called an essential fat or essential fatty acid. This means we must get it in our diet – our bodies cannot produce it!
In fish oil, there are basically two omega 3 fatty acids, known as eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docasahexanoic acid (DHA). (If you look on the bottle of your fish oil, you will see the ingredients broken down into these two components. Usually fish oils are some combination but primarily EPA and DHA.)
This study, from The Journal of Nutrition, looked at the effect of EPA, specifically. What they found was quite interesting. They discovered that a diet rich in EPA, in part, changes the effect and makeup of fat in the body.
Obesity has many factors. One of them is the overexpansion of fat tissue along with other physiologic changes. These changes can include increased blood pressure, inflammation, glycemia and thrombosis. These changes in physiology are what lead to disease and chronic sickness.
Currently, More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese, according to the CDC. Several of the leading causes of preventable deaths including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers – can be linked to obesity (2).
You see most sickness is not “caught.” You don’t typically “catch” heart disease and diabetes – rather, you develop them over years of poor lifestyle choices.
Is there a possibility that taking fish oils could assist someone wanting to lose weight? Could fish oil be a positive lifestyle choice to address the obesity epidemic and chronic sickness we have in our nation? This research suggests that this is so.
In a recent interview with Tim Ferriss, famous trainer Charles Poliquin discussed this research – and how he has his clients take 30+ grams of fish oil daily. The result? They achieve their ideal body fat composition within 6 months.
So how does this EPA benefit weight loss?
It does this by reducing the fat cell size, fat cell creation and fat cell inflammation. This was observed to occur whether or not the individual was obese or not. If you can reduce the size of the fat cells and the creation of new fat cells – you will lose weight.
Inflammation is a root factor in so many of our chronic diseases. The ratio of fats in our diet has been shown to play a role in our body’s inflammation as well. I go into this in more detail here.
So if the EPA in fish oil can help quench inflammation in the body – this is a big deal that deserves further review. To be sure 30 grams of fish oil is no small amount to be taken daily, and that likely is not for everybody, but there are strategies to make getting more fish oil into your diet that are manageable.
Remember, not all fish oils are created equal. Purity is prime concern with fish oils!
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