Omega 3 weight loss

Should you be taking an omega-3 supplement?

The answer to that question is becoming clearer, thanks to new research.

Published: April, 2019

Some 10% of American adults regularly take an omega-3 supplement, despite uncertainty about whether these products truly live up to their health claims. But two new studies published in November 2018 shed some light on who might benefit from omega-3 supplements — and who probably won’t.


The first study was the Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial (VITAL), a large multiyear study with 25,871 healthy adults with no history of cardiovascular (heart or blood vessel–related) disease and at “usual risk” for it. The group was racially diverse and chosen to be representative of the general population, says the study’s lead author Dr. JoAnn E. Manson, professor of medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School.

Researchers tested, among other things, whether a moderate dosage (1 gram a day) of an omega-3 supplement could help prevent major cardiovascular events, compared with a placebo. Cardiovascular events included not only heart attacks, but stroke, and angioplasty procedures to clear blocked arteries.

Although a daily 1-gram omega-3 supplement did not significantly reduce major cardiovascular events over all, there was a 28% reduction in heart attacks and promising signals for other heart-related endpoints, she says. While the supplement didn’t seem to protect most healthy people against future heart problems, certain groups did appear to benefit, particularly people who ate less than 1.5 servings of fish a week or didn’t eat fish at all. “For these people, there was a significant 19% reduction in the primary endpoint of major cardiovascular events, with a 40% reduction in heart attacks,” says Dr. Manson.

The supplements also appeared to benefit African American participants, who saw a 77% reduction in heart attack for those receiving the omega-3 supplement, compared with those taking the placebo, says Dr. Manson. It’s unclear why this group benefited more, and additional studies are needed to confirm the finding.


The second study, called the Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with EPA–Intervention Trial (REDUCE-IT), included more than 8,000 middle-aged and older adults who had elevated triglyceride levels and who had already experienced a cardiovascular event or had other significant risk factors for one. It aimed to find out if a daily high-dose, 4-gram prescription omega-3 medication could protect participants against future cardiovascular events, compared with a placebo. This trial, led by Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, found a substantial 25% reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease or suffering a cardiovascular event among people who took the medication, compared with those who had the placebo.

High doses of omega-3 supplements, like the high-dose omega-3 product used in this trial, aren’t appropriate for everyone because they pose risks, such as bleeding or an increase in a type of abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation, says Dr. Manson. “However, while high doses are associated with some risk, overall benefits of the high-dose omega-3 product used in the trial appeared to outweigh the risks for people with high triglyceride levels and a history of, or at high risk of, cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Manson.

Choosing the right supplement

Looking for an over-the-counter omega-3 supplement? Here’s what to look for:

  • A 1-gram dose, unless your doctor recommends more.

  • A combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Each of these fatty acids provides different health benefits.

  • A quality supplement. Good quality indicators are seals from U.S. Pharmacopeia, NSF International, or

If your triglyceride levels are abnormally high and you have an elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, talk to your doctor about whether a high-dose omega-3 prescription might be an option.

Putting the findings into practice

So, what do these findings mean for you?

People in good health. If you’re healthy and at low or average risk for heart disease, chances are you don’t need an omega-3 supplement, provided you eat fish often, says Dr. Manson. You should eat at least two servings a week of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, or herring. Aim for fish that are high in two different omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), each of which provides unique health benefits.

Getting your omega-3 fatty acids from food is always preferable to a supplement. Not only do you get the marine omega-3 fatty acids from the fish, but you also potentially replace less healthful foods in your diet, such as red meat, processed foods, or refined grains, says Dr. Manson. “It’s a good lifestyle change to make and has been a recommendation for a while. Nothing in these studies supersedes the recommendation for moderate fish intake,” she says.

Non–fish eaters and African Americans. However, if you can’t eat fish or don’t like fish, an omega-3 supplement is something to consider. (Algae-based supplements are an option if you are a vegetarian or allergic to fish.) African Americans might also consider a supplement because of the unique benefits revealed in this trial.

For these two groups, a daily 1-gram supplement could provide a good balance between safety and efficacy. “Talk to your health care provider about whether you’re a candidate for a supplement,” says Dr. Manson.

Already taking omega-3s? If you’re already taking an over-the-counter omega-3 supplement, you don’t necessarily need to stop taking it if you don’t fall into one of the categories above, unless your doctor tells you to. But if you’re not taking an omega-3 supplement, whether you should start really depends on your individual risk factors, says Dr. Manson.

Regardless of whether you opt for an omega-3 supplement, you should always strive to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. “No dietary supplement is a substitute. We already know that, and I think this is an important point to reinforce,” says Dr. Manson. “Healthy lifestyle practices, including regular physical activity, healthy diet, and not smoking, will reduce heart disease risk by close to 80%, and that’s really the main recommendation for heart health,” she says.

Cardiovascular risk factors. If you have an elevated triglyceride level and a history of cardiovascular disease or have major risk factors for it, a high-dose omega-3 medication may be advisable. This is true even if you’re already taking a statin medication. The omega-3 drug does not replace the statin.

Fast facts about the two trials

The Vitamin D and Omega-3 trial (VITAL)

This study was published online Nov. 10, 2018, by The New England Journal of Medicine.

Funding source: The U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Who: 25,871 healthy, racially diverse individuals, including 12,786 men ages 50 and older and 13,085 women ages 55 and older.

What: A daily 1-gram omega-3 prescription supplement that included a combination of two omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A 1-gram dose was chosen because it is a moderate amount that is unlikely to produce side effects. A control group took a placebo.

Key takeaways:

  • Omega-3 supplements likely won’t benefit people who eat at least 1.5 servings of fish per week.

  • Omega-3 supplements may benefit people with low fish consumption or those with African American heritage.

The Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with EPA–Intervention Trial (REDUCE-IT)

This study was published online Nov. 10, 2018, by The New England Journal of Medicine.

Funding source: Amarin, Inc., the company that makes the prescription-strength medication used in the study.

Who: 8,179 middle-aged men and women who had high triglyceride levels and risk factors for heart disease or had already experienced a heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular event. Risk factors included conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Everyone in the trial was taking a statin to reduce high cholesterol.

What: A daily high-dose, 4-gram prescription omega-3 medication or a placebo. Unlike over-the-counter omega-3s, the medication included EPA only.

Key takeaways: This medication may help to protect high-risk individuals from cardiovascular events. Those taking it were 25% less likely to die from heart disease or to have a heart attack, stroke, or a type of chest pain called angina. They were also less likely to need a procedure to open a blocked heart artery. If you have a high triglyceride level and have had a heart attack or stroke or have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, you might benefit from taking the high-dose omega-3 product.

Stay tuned

While these two studies revealed some new knowledge about the potential benefits of omega-3 supplements, more information will likely be available in the near future. VITAL also examined the effect of omega-3 supplementation on cognitive decline, diabetes, depression, and autoimmune disorders, among other conditions, and those results will be published within the next year, says Dr. Manson.

Image: © RomarioIen/Getty Images

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

3 Impressive Fish Oil for Weight Loss Benefits

A supplement that has become increasingly popular is fish oil. It is widely thought that taking fish oil could be an effective technique for losing weight. In fact, it’s said that fish oil has properties which can help reduce body fat by lessening inflammatory effects and increasing hormones that regulate food intake.

The reason for this might be is because fish oil uses omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids, naturally found in fish, are known to have a number of health-boosting properties.

Fish that are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are albacore tuna, wild salmon, sardines, mussels, and trout. Additional fish include herring and mackerel.

Fish oil contains several types of omega-3 acids which include a-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

Another omega-3 fatty acid, known as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), is typically found in vegetable oils (flaxseed, canola (rapeseed), and soybeans) along with nuts, seeds as well as certain meats and vegetables. ALA can also be found in some dairy products like cheese, margarine, and milk.

Besides weight loss, omega-3 fatty acids” can promote good health by lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation and preventing the formation of blood clots. Other potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids is that they can help the body combat cancer-causing agents and ease the symptoms of various diseases, like joint and bone pain.

The acids also work to protect the lining of the arteries from damage and counteract the production of plaque. Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be beneficial for mental health, fighting against depression and anxiety.

Many sources have claimed that fatty acids can help boost skin health and slow aging.

How Can You Utilize Fish Oil for Your Weight Loss Journey?

Results vary from person to person, meaning the fish oil won’t work for everyone who takes it.

Figure Out The Dosage

This is a tricky one. Sources have provided different amounts for the recommended dose. A common suggestion is to find a supplement that’s at least 500mg of DHA and EPA combined. According to FDA, it is safe to take no more than 3000mg of fish oil a day.

If you are unsure, you can speak with a physician about the dosage you should take for your weight. You can increase the dosage as approved by the physician. A user shouldn’t take under or more than the amount recommended.

It’s advised to take fish oil at least 30 minutes before or after a meal. If you prefer, however, you can take the supplement with your food.

Exercise Often

Don’t forget to exercise. Taking the fish oil with a workout routine can boost fat-burning effects.

Make Dietary Changes

Eat a healthy diet. This has been said a million times, but it works.

Add more healthy fats such as beans and nuts. Make yourself vegetable salads. Also, be sure to limit the fatty dressings.

Try as much you can to avoid anything full of unhealthy fats. This means no stuffing your face with fast food every chance you get. It tastes good, but it won’t improve your health in the long run.

Cut down on the salt and refined sugars. If you’re craving anything sugary, eat some fruit. Keep in mind that it is possible to make sweets without the use of processed sugar. All that stuff companies put in prepackaged goodies isn’t worth your health.

Do not consume alcoholic substances while taking the supplement.

Mediation Can Help

Trying to cope with stress can take a toll on your mind and body. Stress may be a reason as for why so many struggles to lose weight. The incorporation of meditation techniques into your daily routine can help boost your mental health.


For pregnant women, it’s advised to not take the supplement before speaking with a physician.

Also, refer to a physician if you are currently experiencing any health problems. Notify if you are taking any medications for your condition (s) or other supplements for weight loss.

In addition, be mindful if you’re someone with fish allergies.

Side Effects

It may appear that it’s most effective to take high doses of the fish oil for weight loss, This, however, may not be the best option for some users.

It’s crucial that people are aware of the side effects fish oil can cause if taken in high amounts. Common symptoms of high dosage include diarrhea, nausea, low blood pressure, abdominal pain and. It may even cause you to have foul breath or a fishy aftertaste.

Please let the physician know if you experience any side effects.

What are the Benefits of Fish Oil for Weight Loss?

Fish Oil May Help Curb Hunger

It has been shown that taking a few supplements of fish oil can make you feel fuller than you normally do after eating a meal.

One of the ways fish oil does this is by increasing the production of the leptin hormone. This hormone, produced by the body’s fat cells, which helps regulate appetite.

It works to reduce hunger by triggering the hypothalamus, a part of your brain. How this works is that leptin stimulates the synthesis of a-MSH, a hormone that suppresses hunger. Leptin also decreases the activity of hunger-promoting neurons in the brain.

May Boost Insulin Sensitivity

It is also believed that taking fish oil increases insulin sensitivity.

Our bodies receive proteins, fats, and carbohydrates from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, plays an important role in the metabolism of those nutrients. How it does this is by signaling for the liver to convert glucose into glycogen and store it in body cells.

Insulin sensitivity refers to the body’s ability to tolerate activity of insulin. If your body responds well to the hormone, then you have insulin sensitivity. Compared to someone who is insulin resistant, your body won’t need as much insulin to store glucose.

Insulin resistant would describe a person with low insulin sensitivity. This occurs when the body cells don’t respond well to the insulin. As a result, the body requires a great amount of insulin to store glucose.

As a result, insulin begins to store excess amounts of glucose, which leads to more fat storage within the body cells.

Too many carbs itself can spike insulin. As the body can store a limited amount of space for storing carbohydrates, high levels can be dangerous.

In addition, insulin resistance can cause inflammation.

Can Reduce Inflammation

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a cause of weight gain and can make it difficult to lose weight.

We know consuming excess amounts of foods that are fried, rich in saturated fats, or loaded with refined sugar can be a cause of inflammation. These foods contain a questionably high amount of AGEs. Though advanced glycation end products can be beneficial for the body, consuming too much of them isn’t good.

Fish oil counteracts harmful effects by blocking the inflammatory agents. An 18-month study was carried out on participants who were suffering from arthritis, a condition described as inflammation of the joints. While taking the fish oil, participants experienced a decline in their symptoms. In this case, the fish oil was able to reverse the inflammatory effects.

Fish oil reducing inflammation could mean lowering the risk for chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and cancer.

May Lessen Stress Hormones

Stress hormones, cortisol, and adrenaline have been linked to weight gain.

Unlike insulin, cortisol is a catabolic hormone. Cortisol functions to break down muscle tissues into amino acids. The amino acids are released to the liver and converted into glucose.

By being under stress, you cause your body to release unnecessary amounts of these hormones, resulting in muscle degradation and potentially fat storage.

In many cases, cortisol increases appetite. Stress can provoke people to eat more than they should and usually not what’s healthy. What many labels as “comfort food” is mostly processed foods that are packed with unneeded quantities of salt, sugar, and fat. On top of that, stress can slow down your metabolism.

It’s widely thought that fish oil may have some anti-catabolic effects as a study has revealed the decline in cortisol levels of male participants who consumed fish oil.

Can Reduce Triglyceride Levels

High levels of triglycerides, otherwise known as hypertriglyceridemia, is a potential cause of weight gain. Triglycerides are a common type of fat found in the blood. Eating large quantities of foods like cheeseburgers, French fries, pizza, and doughnuts can raise triglycerides. Anything that contains a lot of cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats is best restricted or avoided when you’re dealing with hypertriglyceridemia.

The eicosapentaenoic acid in fish oil is said to be effective for treating elevated levels of triglycerides.

Can Promote Muscle Growth

Studies have reported that fish oil stimulates protein synthesis, a key component in building muscle mass as well as slow down the process of muscle protein breakdown. Participants included men and women, from 25 to 45 years of age, were given a 4g dosage of fish oil every day for eight weeks.

The supplement managed to stimulate the activity of the mTOR-p70s6k signaling pathway. The pathway serves as the control system for muscle protein anabolism as well as muscle cell growth.

With its anti-catabolic properties, fish oil can reduce the activity of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, responsible for the degradation of muscle proteins.

The catabolic (breaking down) and anabolic (building up) metabolism processes have to be balanced or your body will be breaking down muscle at a faster rate than it’s supposed to.

Final Thoughts

Seeing the benefits, it shouldn’t give fish oil a try. Now, you don’t have to take my word for it as it’s up to you to decide whether this would be a good choice. There is a broad selection of options out there to consider. It’s about finding what works best for you.

Though there aren’t a guarantee of fish oil works for all people, it is definitely something to keep in mind. Studies have proven that it has potential. As indicated, you don’t have to take it by itself. Have it with a delicious, nutritious meal.

It’s preferred that fish oil is consumed with high-fat foods (the good fats, of course) for better absorption. Just pick a recipe that uses healthy fats and enjoys! If the oil works, it works. Use to your advantage and you’ll be feeling great before you know it.

To make it easier, I advise users to do their research when it comes to weight-loss products like omega-3 fish oil. It always helps to do a little bit of digging.

Do whatever you need to make sure you’re taking careful steps towards a healthy and happy future.

Essential Fatty Acids And Dieting!

EFA’s can be beneficial even if a deficiency doesn’t exist and, if used properly, can increase overall health, and help you with fat loss.

Fish Oil

Several studies have shown that fish oil increases insulin sensitivity, the breakdown of body fat and the use of fat as a primary energy source. As such, besides decreasing inflammation and increasing cardiovascular health, they also provide substantial weight and fat loss benefits.

LNA, EPA, and DHA can enhance lipolysis (body fat breakdown), and decrease lipogenesis (body fat formation). The combined breakdown of stored body fat and decrease in additional body fat can have very positive results for the dieter. You actually end up making less and breaking down more body fat when using these oils.

Some products are effective in helping you to get rid of excess body fat when it’s used along with healthy diets, in which you take in lower amounts of carbs and higher amounts of fats than most diets.

To View Top Selling Fish Oil Products .

Omega-3 and Cholesterol

Omega-3 can provide an excellent hedge against worries about cholesterol. For example marine oils are a big part of the diets of Eskimo tribes. Though their higher-fat diet would seem to make them prime candidates for heart disease and atherosclerosis, they’ve been found to be almost immune to cardiovascular problems, at least until Western dietary influences in recent years.

Studies have centered on omega-3 fatty acids in the fish oils and their cardioprotective capacities as being central to this phenomenon.

Even in cases where dietary cholesterol is increased, omega-3s may aid in actually lowering serum cholesterol. There is some evidence to suggest that in higher-fat diets aerobic exercise also reduces serum cholesterol and thus may improve the effects of omega-3 rich fish oil on cholesterol.

There’s no doubt that the omega-3s are a major factor in lowering serum cholesterol levels, preventing coronary heart disease, and perhaps even preventing or curing atherosclerosis. As well, blood pressure, clotting, immune response, insulin resistance, and triglyceride levels are all positively affected by omega-3s.

But there’s more to the story.

Since fat-free mass, and particularly muscle mass, is the main determinant of energy expenditure, the possibility of increasing or even maintaining muscle mass is an important consideration. That’s where conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) comes in.

Numerous physiological effects in relation to body-weight control have been attributed to CLA in animals. In different animal models, CLA has been shown to reduce body fat and to increase lean body mass. A recent long term study found that a mixture of the two CLA isomers significantly lowered body fat mass in overweight humans.

As well, CLA seems to have significant effects on weight regain, as it reduces fat uptake into adipocytes by decreasing the formation of fat and but not affecting fat breakdown. It likely does this by affecting various enzymes involved in lipid formation rather than enhancing fat breakdown, known as lipolysis.

Thus there is an overall increase in fat breakdown since the two processes are usually in dynamic equilibrium with as much fat being produced as is broken down. Decreasing fat formation changes the dynamics to one of overall increased fat breakdown and subsequently a decrease in overall body fat.

To View Top Selling CLA Products .

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that the omega-3 has significant effects on weight and fat loss, and increases overall health and well being.

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Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)

Essential is a medical term meaning the human body cannot make it; therefore we must consume it in our diet. We have three essential nutrients, water, 9 amino acids found in proteins, and 2 fatty acids called the Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.

The fatty acids are building blocks of every cell wall in our body. These are important in every function and chemical reaction. These are important in metabolism, immunity (fighting infection), skin health, heart health, controlling cholesterol, mood swings, and most importantly for us, helping to control our weight. The average American diet is low in Omega 3 EFA.

Studies of rates of heart disease suggest a direct correlation between low EFA consumption and high insulin levels resulting in heart disease, and obesity.

Omega 3 consumption

Eskimos 7,000 10,000 mg/day
Japanese 3,000 mg/day
1 Tbsp cod liver oil 2,500 mg/day
AHA guidelines 250 mg/day
Current US average intake 125 mg/day

The less we control our insulin the more EFA we need. The usual American diet is so high is Carbohydrates (sugars) that the current levels of EFA intake are not enough.

To improve your EFA intake:

Omega 3 (Linolenic acid, EPA, DHA) sources:

  • fats and oils (canola, soybean, Flax seed, wheat germ)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fish and shellfish, fish oils

Remember, heating oils removes the benefits

Omega 6 ( Linolic acid) sources

  • Vegetable oils corn and sunflower seed oils

Fish oil capsules supply our EFA needs. We suggest 2000 to 3000 mgs of fish oil capsules daily. There may be a problem with some fish oil capsules. Fish around the world are contaminated. Studies are underway, but at this time it appears very safe to take fish oils supplements over the counter. We will follow the studies and if it becomes apparent that pharmaceutical grade EFA’s are recommended, we will begin to provide them thorough our office and recommend the more expensive form . We do provide the pharmaceutical grade through the office because they have less of a “fish burp” if that is intolerable for you and the over the counter fish oil capsules.

How Omega-3 Fish Oil Helps In Weight Loss – Dosage And Health Benefits Charushila Biswas Hyderabd040-395603080 January 14, 2020

Fish oil is one of the most common health supplements available on the market for weight loss. It is one of the richest natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids (1).

Researchers have found that fish oil can help improve cardiovascular health, promote brain development, and reduce inflammation and the risk of diabetes (2). Fish oil also reduces cortisol levels and can help you get rid of belly fat (3).

In this article, we will discuss how using fish oil for weight loss is beneficial, supplements, dosage, whether you should consume it during pregnancy or not, and much more.

Table Of Contents

What Is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is mainly derived from fatty fish and is loaded with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), i.e., omega-3 and omega-6. Several studies showed that supplementing fish oil or eating fish could help reduce mortality from coronary heart disease (4). Fish oil is available in the tablet or capsule form. Make sure you consult a doctor or dietitian before opting for the supplements.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and they are important for better human health.

ALA can be synthesized by humans but not EPA and DHA. Though ALA can be converted into EPA and DHA, the conversion percent is very low, and vegetarians need more ALA to meet the demand for omega-3 fatty acids (5). Taking fish oil supplements can help meet the requirement of omega-3 fatty acids.

Let’s find out how fish oil can help in weight loss in the next section.

How Fish Oil Aids Weight Loss

1. Fish Oil Restores Omega-3 And Omega-6 Fatty Acids Ratio For Weight Loss

In general, the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids should be 1:1. But according to a study published in Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, this ratio is 15:1 or higher in Western diets (6). This may cause cardiovascular disease, inflammation, depression, and obesity.

You can restore the omega-6/omega-3 ratio by consuming fatty fish or taking fish oil supplements. This, in turn, reduces inflammation and inflammation-induced weight gain and improves lipid profile (7). This is the basic scientific logic behind fish oil’s weight loss properties.

2. Fish Oil May Increase Satiety

The omega-3s in fish oil aid weight loss by improving the hunger-satiety cycle. Individuals who want to slim down can go for fish oil supplementation after consulting their doctor.

In an experiment, obese patients were supplemented with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids along with diet restrictions. The patients were provided with 260 mg/day or 1300 mg/per day of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids, and their postprandial (post-meal) satiety was high (8).

3. Fish Oil May Improve Metabolic Rate

Fish oil helps in weight loss by improving metabolism. The more your metabolic rate, the more you tend to lose weight.

An experimental study showed that supplementing with 3 g of fish oil omega-3 fatty acids per day improved metabolic rate by 14% and fat oxidation by 19% (9).

4. Fish Oil May Help Burn Fat

Fish oil supplementation may help burn and mobilize fat by accelerating fatty acid oxidation (break down of fatty acids).

Researchers from France conducted an experiment with a few healthy individuals. The participants were on a controlled diet for three weeks. They were given 6g/day of fish oil along with the same controlled diet for the next 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, it was found that fish oil induced fat oxidation (10).

5. Fish Oil May Help To Build Muscle Mass

Fish oil also helps build muscle, which helps to increase the metabolic rate. Scientists have found that supplementing human participants with fish oil can aid muscle anabolism and improve muscle mass (11), (12), (13).

6. Fish Oil May Help You Lose Inches And Gain Lean Mass

The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help you lose fat and build muscle mass.

According to a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, six weeks of supplementation with fish oil significantly decreased fat mass and increased lean mass in healthy adults (14). More studies are needed to determine this mechanism.

7. Fish Oil Lowers Triglyceride levels

When you consume a lot of unhealthy food and don’t work out, the triglyceride levels go up. This puts you at risk of obesity and related diseases like heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, etc.

It has been found that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help lower serum triglyceride levels. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the availability and delivery of fatty acids and decrease fatty acid synthesizing enzymes. This, in turn, prevents the formation of triglyceride molecules and protects you from gaining weight (visceral and subcutaneous fat) (15).

8. Fish Oil Lowers LDL Cholesterol

Obesity may lead to higher levels of LDL cholesterol and lower levels of HDL or good cholesterol in the blood. A study found that supplementation with fish oil had decreased LDL cholesterol levels (16).

In another study, moderate amounts of fish oil (6g/day) were found to increase HDL or good cholesterol levels (17). Hence, if you need to lose weight, add fish oil to your diet. It will not only help you lose subcutaneous fat but also reduce the risk of obesity-related diseases.

9. Fish Oil Prevents Insulin Resistance

Your body can become insulin resistant if your blood sugar levels are constantly high. Insulin becomes insensitive to glucose and doesn’t take it up. This makes you feel hungry as your cells are devoid of glucose. As a result, you eat more and gain weight.

Researchers have found that short-term supplementation with fish oil can help increase insulin sensitivity in people with metabolic disorders (18).

10. Fish Oil Can Help Reduce Inflammation

Prolonged periods of stress in the body can also make you gain weight. Studies have confirmed that fish oil is anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce inflammation in the body by inhibiting the inflammatory pathways (19), (20).

These were the scientific reasons behind fish oil’s weight loss-aiding properties. Now, let’s find out how much fish oil you should take for weight loss.

Fish Oil Dosage For Weight Loss

You can either consume fatty fish or use fish oil pills or supplements for weight loss. Studies indicate that increasing the intake of long-chain omega-3 by 0.3-3 g/day can improve body composition and aid weight loss (21).

Remember, the dosage will vary depending on your age, medical history, current medications, etc. Hence, talk to your doctor before taking fish oil to determine the correct dosage for you.

There are many fatty fish and fish oil supplements available on the market. How do you know which one is the best?

What Is The Best Fish Or Fish Oil Supplement For Weight Loss?

All kinds of fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, but the best sources are fatty fish. Here’s a list of fatty fish that you can consume to lose weight:

  • Wild salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Herring
  • Tuna
  • Pacific cod
  • Hilsa

Tip: Buy them from the local fish market instead of the supermarket.

If you cannot have fish or do not like eating them, use fish oil supplements or pills. Here’s what you need to look for in fish oil supplements:

  • Check the EPA and DHA ratio of the fish oil supplement. Fish oil supplements should able to provide 500 mg of combined EPA and DHA (22).
  • The WHO recommends consuming fish oil that contains 0.2-0.5 grams of EPA/DHA (23).
  • Choose a well known and reputable brand that has undergone third-party testing.
  • Look for added substances that may be toxic for you.

Be particular about the type of fish oil you are using. Certain fish oil, like cod liver oil, is rich in vitamins A and D. The toxicity of these fat-soluble vitamins might be fatal for you. Always buy a fish oil supplement that your doctor has prescribed.

What is the best time to consume fish oil?

When To Consume Fish Oil For Weight Loss

The best time to consume fish oil is

  • 30-60 minutes after waking up
  • 30 minutes before lunch
  • 30 minutes before going to bed

There are innumerable health benefits of fish oil apart from weight loss – from reducing the risk of heart disease to making your hair lustrous and shiny. Take a look at the list of benefits below.

Fish Oil Health Benefits

Is taking fish oil safe during pregnancy? Find out next.

Is It Safe To Consume Fish Oil During Pregnancy?

The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have a positive effect on the baby and the mother. They help in brain and eye development and prevent allergies in infants. Consuming fish oil supplements can prevent preterm delivery (31).

Make sure you consult your doctor to find out the dosage and time of consumption or if you should consume fish oil at all.

Coming back to weight loss with fish oil, is only eating fatty fish or taking fish oil pills going to help you lose weight? To an extent, yes. But then, it all comes down to your lifestyle. Check out this list to know what you should do to lose weight.

Lifestyle Changes You Need For Weight Loss With Fish Oil

  • Consume five different types of veggies, three times a day.
  • Have three different types of fruits, two times a day.
  • For best results, consume fish oil supplements at the specified times.
  • Have different types of fatty fish every day, at least in one meal.
  • Consume other sources of lean protein to get all kinds of amino acids.
  • Consume other sources of healthy fats, like nuts, ghee, olive oil, etc.
  • Avoid eating out.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Avoid junk, processed, and deep-fried foods.
  • Check your body fat percent every month.
  • Check your weight and click pictures every two weeks to keep track of your weight loss.
  • Workout regularly. Do a mix of cardio, HIIT, and strength training.
  • Practice meditation.
  • Take out 10 minutes of your time to enjoy the quiet.
  • Play a sport, walk for a social cause, teach poor kids at a local school, or spend quality time with family, friends, or your pet.
  • Switch off your mobile, laptop, TV, Xbox, etc. and read a book before sleeping.
  • Sleep for 7-8 hours.


Fish oil is a great supplement for weight loss and a good source of healthy fat. But you also have to eat healthy and work out to accelerate your weight loss. Talk to your doctor or dietitian and start losing weight with fish oil. Cheers!

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How much weight can I lose with fish oil supplementation?

Regular fish oil supplementation can help you 0.5 kg per week, which can be accelerated if balanced with healthy foods and exercise. But consult with a doctor before taking any supplements.

Does fish oil burn belly fat?

Fish oil has an anti-obesity effect and is helpful in reducing abdominal fat if combined with healthy habits and exercise (32).

What happens if you take fish oil every day?

Anything within the permissible limit is beneficial for health. Choose the correct fish oil and check with the doctor how much should be taken. Studies showed that 300-3000 mg of fish oil could be taken for weight loss (21).

32 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, Official Publication of The College of Family Physicians of Canada, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Fish oil supplementation reduces cortisol basal levels and perceived stress: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in abstinent alcoholics, Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Accumulated evidence on fish consumption and coronary heart disease mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies, Circulation, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Achieving optimal essential fatty acid status in vegetarians: current knowledge and practical implications, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids, Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • An Increase in the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio Increases the Risk for Obesity, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss, Appetite, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females, PloS One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Effect of dietary fish oil on body fat mass and basal fat oxidation in healthy adults, International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids augment the muscle protein anabolic response to hyperaminoacidemia-hyperinsulinemia in healthy young and middle aged men and women, Clinical Science, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Fish oil increases muscle protein mass and modulates Akt/FOXO, TLR4, and NOD signaling in weanling piglets after lipopolysaccharide challenge, The Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Why do omega-3 fatty acids lower serum triglycerides? Current Opinion in Lipidolgy, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Inhibition of low density lipoprotein synthesis by dietary omega-3 fatty acids in humans, Arteriosclerosis, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • The effect of fish oil on blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels in phase I of the Trials of Hypertension Prevention. Trials of Hypertension Prevention Collaborative Research Group, Journal of hypertension, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Fish oil supplementation and insulin sensitivity: a systematic review and meta-analysis, Lipids in Health and Disease, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial, Brain, bBehavior, and Immunity, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation and autoimmune diseases, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Be Beneficial for Reducing Obesity—A Review, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Essential Fatty Acids, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University.
  • Population nutrient intake goals for preventing diet-related chronic diseases, World Health Organization.
  • Effects of 12-week supplementation of marine Omega-3 PUFA-based formulation Omega3Q10 in older adults with prehypertension and/or elevated blood cholesterol, Lipids in Health and Disease, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • The role of fish oil in arrhythmia prevention, Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Fish oil and depression: The skinny on fats, Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • High concentrations of plasma n3 fatty acids are associated with decreased risk for late age-related macular degeneration, The Journal of Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Skeletal Muscle Health, Marine Drugs, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin, Marine Drugs, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Mackerel-Derived Fermented Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth by Anagen-Stimulating Pathways, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation During Pregnancy, Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
  • Does Fish Oil Have an Anti-Obesity Effect in Overweight/Obese Adults? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, PloS One, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

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Charushila Biswas is a Senior Content Writer and an ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist. She is an alumni of VIT University, Vellore and has worked on transgenic wheat as a part of her Masters dissertation from NRCPB (IARI), New Delhi. After completing her Masters, she developed a passion for nutrition and fitness, which are closely related to human psychology. And that prompted her to author a review article in 2015. She has written over 200 articles on Fitness and Nutrition. In her leisure time, Charushila loves to cook and enjoys mobile photography.

The study – published in the British Journal of Nutrition​ – investigated whether long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), combined with a very-low-energy diet (VLED), assisted with weight loss and maintenance and improved blood lipids and inflammatory mediators in obese people.

Led by Professor Manohar Garg of the Nutraceuticals Research Group at the University of Newcastle, Australia, the research team found supplementation of omega-3 six times per day (each consisting of 70mg EPA and 270mg DHA) resulted in weight loss only up to the 14th week of testing.

“Both groups experienced improved metabolic profiles and there was a significant reduction in fat mass for the fish oil group at week 14 but not for placebo,”​ explained Garg and his colleagues.

“However, it would appear that supplementation with long chain omega-3 PUFA had no significant effect on weight loss or weight maintenance over the 14 weeks,”​ they revealed.

As a result, Garg and his co-workers said the potential benefits of loading cells and cell membranes with omega​-3 fatty acids before the implementation a weight loss programme “merits further examination.”​

Research highlights​

The researchers gave a group of 40 men and women either a placebo or a supplement containing a 4:1 ratio of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acid six times a day in a double blind randomised controlled trial.

“The main purpose of the present study was to investigate whether long chain omega-3 PUFAs would assist weight loss when administered as a supplement during a weight loss diet,”​ explained Garg and his team.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Weight Loss Aids?

Veterans of the weight-loss wars are likely familiar with omega-3 fatty acids as the “healthy fats” touted in some popular diets as being both beneficial to overall health — particularly heart health — and a boon for weight loss.

Omega-3 is shorthand for the more correct term “long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids” or “n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).” They are found in deep-sea fish such as salmon, mackerel, swordfish, and shark as well as certain oils (canola) and nuts (walnuts). There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Alpha-linoleic acid (ALA)
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
  • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Weight-Loss Plans

Here’s how popular diet plans stack up in terms of the amount of omega-3 they suggest:

  • The USDA Food Guide Pyramid recommends between 1 and 3 grams of omega-3 per day.
  • The Zone diet and the Atkins diet each recommend between 3 and 4 grams per day.
  • The Ornish plan keeps omega-3 to 1 gram or less per day.

Studies have shown that diet success depends more on calorie reduction than the specific plan you follow, so naturally if your goal is weight loss, you might be wondering whether the amount of omega-3 foods in your diet makes a difference.

According to researcher Mario Kratz, PhD, assistant member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and research assistant professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, the answer is that, despite their other health benefits, omega-3 fatty acids do not have a direct effect on weight loss.

Many studies have shown that people can lose weight on diets with an emphasis on omega-3, says Kratz, but when his team conducted a trial comparing the weight loss of two groups of overweight people who ate exactly the same foods with the exception of the types of fats used to prepare the foods (omega-3s vs. saturated fats), they found no difference in weight loss between the two.

“Omega-3s may help with other health consequences of being obese, such as heart disease, but in terms of these fats specifically helping you to lose weight, I’d say if there is any effect it’s probably minimal and it doesn’t play a clinical role,” says Kratz.

Why You Should Include Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Your Diet

Research into the weight-loss benefit of these healthy fats is still ongoing, the current theory being that these fats:

  • Improve glucose sensitivity
  • Reduce insulin resistance
  • Reduce markers of inflammation
  • Speed fat oxidation by stimulating a specific receptor in the liver that affects fat

All of this means that if you include some fat in your diet, choosing omega-3 fatty acids is better for weight management than foods containing saturated fats. On a practical level, this means your weight-loss goals could benefit from choosing salmon for dinner over beef or from preparing foods with canola oil instead of butter.

More Health Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Even if increasing omega-3 foods won’t accelerate weight loss, there are many health benefits to including them in your diet:

  • Lower triglycerides
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slow atherosclerosis
  • Reduce heart attack and stroke risk
  • Improve symptoms of arthritis

Building a Weight Loss Diet with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The changes you will make to increase omega-3 fatty acids in your diet should complement your weight-loss plan. Consider including more of these foods with omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Fatty fish including salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Vegetable oils such as canola, flaxseed, and soybean
  • Nuts, with walnuts at the top of the list

Although it would be difficult to eat enough fish to get excess calories from adding omega-3 foods, you certainly could go overboard with nuts and oils, so stick to the minimum you need. Take a supplement to amp up your omega-3 intake without the calorie load. Supplements offer the same health benefits without the added calories.

Even if omega-3 fatty acids do not cause weight loss, there are many health benefits to including them in your diet — and better health is at the core of why you want to lose weight.

Learn more in the Everyday Health Weight Center.

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