Intake of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to the prevention of coronary heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends 1000mg of a combination of omega-3 fatty acids per day to protect against the risk of heart disease. Clinical trials have confirmed these cardiovascular benefits but more recent data shows that the benefits of omega 3 extend to other aspects of optimal health & longevity. An analysis of omega-3 studies revealed a 14% reduction in the risk of mortality from all causes. Further research has attributed this to newly discovered effects on metabolic function and cognitive protection.
A 2017 study found that fish oil supplementation can “effectively reduce waist circumference and triglyceride levels in overweight and obese adults.” Supplementing with Omega-3 daily may help reduce weight, body mass index (BMI), waist/hip ratio, and total fat mass. These benefits are achieved through increased fat burning and boosting of adiponectin, which is involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown. Adiponectin levels are reduced in obese subjects and in subjects with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
“Current evidence suggests a positive, dose-dependent relationship between omega-3 fatty acid intake and circulating levels of adiponectin. In obese subjects, this may translate into a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. In non-obese subjects, omega-3 is observed to decrease circulating levels of leptin; however, omega-3-associated increases in leptin levels have been observed in obese subjects. This may pose benefits in the prevention of weight regain in these subjects following calorie restriction”
The results of another study demonstrated that fish oil supplementation significantly increased resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure during exercise, and the rate of fat oxidation during rest and during exercise. In addition, fish oil consumption lowered triglyceride levels and increased lean mass, while no changes occurred in the placebo group.
If you want to stay full longer between meals, popping a couple of fish oil capsules after you eat may help. A 2008 study found that obese people receiving supplements of omega-3 fatty acids while following a weight loss program experienced a feeling of fullness for longer.
Omega-3s play vital roles in brain function but the amount of omega-3 in the brain dwindles as we age. The lack of omega-3 leads to a loss of brain plasticity. Studies have demonstrated omega-3’s ability to protect against cognitive impairment: A study of older adults (age 50-75) found a daily omega-3 supplement improved cognitive aptitude, speed of perception, and memory recall.
Zhang, YY., Liu, W., Zhao, TY., Tian, HM. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Supplementation in Managing Overweight and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Nutr Health Aging. 2017;21(2):187-192
Gray, B., Steyn, F., Davies, PS., Vitetta, L. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: a review of the effects on adiponectin and leptin and potential implications for obesity management. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Dec;67(12):1234-42
Kulzow, N., Witte, AV., Kerti, L., et. al. Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Memory Functions in Healthy Older Adults. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;51(3):713-25
Logan, S. & Spriet, L. (2015). Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144828.
Daniells, S. (2008). Omega-3 boosts satiety during weight loss: study. NutraIngredients.