Who hasn’t popped a fish oil supplement now and then?
For decades, fish oil – obtained from eating fish or by taking supplements – has been used for a wide range of conditions. It has been linked to heart and blood system conditions, boosting brain function, alleviating depression and reducing inflammation in the body. Scientific evidence has suggested that fish can lower high triglycerides, preventing heart disease and stroke when taken in recommended amounts.
Now, a new health benefit has been added to fish oil’s kitty. A study published in the journal Scientific Reports reveals that fish oil may aid with weight loss.
Kyoto University scientists conducted the research on two groups of mice; one was fed fatty food, the other fed the same food with fish oil. The mice that ate food spiked with fish oil gained significantly less weight and less fat, compared to the other group. Tests also showed that they had lower insulin and fasting glucose levels, along with a hotter core temperature.
The researchers measured the energy burn and found that the mice fed fish oil burned more calories. This could be due to an increase in brown fat cells, which burn calories to maintain a stable body temperature. The researchers also linked fish oil to an anti-obesity effect.
Senior author Teruo Kawada has said that previous research has shown that fish oil has “tremendous health benefits, including the prevention of fat accumulation”. “We tested whether fish oil and an increase in beige cells could be related,” he said.
Fish oil activates receptors in the digestive tract, shoots the sympathetic nervous system and induces storage cells to metabolise fat.
The research found that mice that ate food with fish oil gained 5-10% less weight and 15-25% less fat compared to those that did not consume the oil. The team also found that beige cells formed from white fat cells when the sympathetic nervous system was activated, meaning that certain fat storage cells acquired the ability to metabolise. If fish oil helps turn white fat into brown fat, it is clearly a miracle worker.
“People have long said that food from Japan and the Mediterranean contribute to longevity, but why these cuisines are beneficial was up for debate. Now, we have better insight into why that may be,” Kawada said.
Get your dose of the beneficial fish oils by consuming mackerel, tuna, salmon, sturgeon, mullet, bluefish, anchovy, sardines, herring, trout and menhaden. About 100 gm fish provides 1 gm of omega-3 fatty acids.