About Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are nutrients found in various foods and supplements, most commonly fish oil. Your body needs omega-3s to function, and numerous studies have demonstrated positive health benefits from increasing your intake.
One of the ways omega-3s can benefit your health is by assisting with weight loss. They are vital to numerous bodily functions, and they appear to support fat loss and muscle mass growth.
5 Ways Omega-3s Help with Weight Loss
Omega-3 fatty acids have many potential benefits when it comes to losing weight, primarily when it’s used as part of a complete weight loss regimen. Note that it’s not a “weight loss drug.” It’s a supplement that can improve your body’s ability to reduce fat and build muscle.
1. Improved Satiety
One potential benefit comes in terms of curbing appetite. One randomized control trial showed participants had higher levels of satiety (feeling full) two hours after a meal when they had higher levels of omega-3 intake. This effect may be most pronounced for people who are obese, as is suggested by another study which found increased levels of fullness hormones in obese individuals after taking omega-3.
2. Minimize Fat Storage
Another benefit is decreased fat storage. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that omega-3s helped reduce waist circumference, even though actual body weight didn’t necessarily change. This suggests that the weight you have from fat can be reduced with omega-3 supplements, even though the actual figure on the scale might not change.
3. Improved Muscle Growth
So how can you lose fat without losing weight? It may be a result of increased muscle mass. One study demonstrated this as participants who took more than 2g of omega-3s per day had somewhat higher muscle mass gain. The exact relationship between omega-3s and muscle mass still isn’t perfectly understood, but it does appear to play a role in muscle building. That can yield additional benefits beyond simply having a bit of extra muscle.
4. Increased Metabolic Rate
Higher muscle mass can lead to an increased metabolic rate, which helps with burning calories. A 12-week study found that young adults had a 5.3% increase in their resting metabolic rate when they consumed more than 3g of omega-3s per day, indicating an increased ability to burn more calories, even when at rest. When used as part of an exercise routine, the effect of your workouts would therefore be improved.
5. Better Results from Exercise
Finally, omega-3s may have a positive impact on the overall results of your exercise routine. This extends beyond simply losing fat, as suggested by one study in which volunteers were given either 6g of fish oil or sunflower oil. Those who took the fish oil had overall better results in terms of body fat, cholesterol, and cardiovascular health.
This means omega-3 can help you get more out of your workouts, which is why many athletes take it as part of their routines.
FAQs on Omega-3s and Weight Loss
Some of the most common questions people ask when it comes to omega-3s and weight loss include the following.
When should I take omega-3s for weight loss?
Some evidence suggests that it’s most effective to take omega-3 supplements either 30 minutes before eating or as part of a meal, especially if you’re eating something heavy.
Should I take omega-3 before or after a workout?
Omega-3s can be taken either before or after working out. It takes time to get into your system, so taking it a little while before exercise is often preferred. However, since it may help reduce muscle pain, many athletes prefer to take it after working out in order to shorten recovery time.
Can omega-3 cause weight gain?
Omega-3s themselves don’t generally contribute toward weight gain. That said, lower quality or rancid fish oil supplements may lead to an increase in weight, which is why it’s important to choose a supplement that has no toxic chemicals included.
Best Omega-3 Supplements for Weight Management
When choosing an omega-3 supplement, it’s important to look for one that has no toxic additives or chemicals. In addition, plant-based omega-3 supplements may be preferred to fish oil. Dr. Ohhira’s Essential Living Oils are a vegan-friendly source of omega-3s and other nutrients, making them a great fish oil alternative. To learn more, contact Essential Formulas.