Fish Oil Supplements: Benefits and Effectiveness
Consuming fish oil as a supplement increases calorie expenditure and accelerates fat burning during low-intensity exercise, as well as stimulates muscle growth, according to Canadian nutritionists at Guelph University in PLoS One. See more fish oil supplements benefits below!
Benefits of Fish Oil for Women
The researchers divided 24 healthy women, ages 60 to 74, into two groups. One group took 5 grams of fish oil every day for twelve weeks. Of these, 2 grams were polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA. Another group took a placebo.
Researchers examined women in the laboratory several times during and at the end of the supplement period. They took many measurements, including the body composition of the women and the calories they burned.
Eating Fish Oil Burns Calories Faster, Study Finding
Fish oil supplements consumption increased calorie expenditure in women at rest and during low-intensity exercise [women were required to cycle for 30 minutes at an easy pace].
The women who took fish oil burned the same amount of fat at rest as the women in the placebo group. However, they burned significantly more calories during low-intensity exercise.
The group who took fish oil lost a little less than 1.5 kg of subcutaneous fat during the experiment, but this effect cannot be called statistically significant. The supplement also increased the lean body mass of women by more than 1.5 kg – and this effect can already be considered statistically significant.
Before and after the period of supplementation, women performed a test called “Timed Up and Go” – getting up and sitting down again as quickly as possible within a specified amount of time. The time it took for them to do this was reduced, which means that the women in the fish oil group increased their strength.
The Effectiveness of the Additive: the Conclusions of Scientists
“Many older adults find it difficult to maintain a fish oil intake of 5 grams per day due to increasing digestive problems (gastrointestinal discomfort) and capsule size,” the scientists note.
“It is necessary to establish the optimal fish oil dosage required to bring benefits to metabolism and physical condition.“
Fish Oil Supplements for Weight Loss
Researchers from the French University of Inserm found that eating 3 grams of fatty acids daily reduced fat deposits on the flanks of women. The experiment, which involved 30 French women with type 2 diabetes, was carried out over two months.
Fatty acids from fish or fish oil inhibit the growth of fat cells. If you often eat fish or eat fish oil during your diet, then fat burning will occur faster.
The benefits of exercising while fat burning will also be more noticeable when consuming fish oil. This is because fatty acids from fish accelerate the fat burning process in the muscles. However, all of these phenomena occur at high doses of fatty acids.
The task of the French researchers was to determine the effectiveness of moderate dosage of fish oil, namely 3 grams per day. The capsules given to the participants contained 1.8 g of omega-3 fatty acids, 1.1 g of EPA, and 0.7 g of DHA.
The experiment involved 30 women, half of whom took a placebo.
Placebo group results:
|Initial data||2 months later|
|Body weight, kg||81||81|
|Adipose tissue volume, %||36.9||36.6|
|Body fat, kg||15.6||15.5|
|Abdominal fat, cm3||943||979|
|Visceral fat, cm3||363||419|
Results from the fish oil group:
|Initial data||2 months later|
|Body weight, kg||80||79|
|Adipose tissue volume, %||35||33|
|Body fat, kg||14.3||13.5|
|Abdominal fat, cm3||769||785|
|Visceral fat, cm3||329||380|
The participants in the fish oil group lost an average of 1 kg. The body fat percentage decreased by 2%, especially in the trunk area. Participants in the placebo group showed no change in body weight.
Taking fish oil did not increase insulin sensitivity, but it did reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The intake of fish oil lowered the PAI-1 protein in the blood from 18.9 to 9.5 IU per milliliter. PAI-1 is the culprit behind heart attacks. In the placebo group, the PAI-1 protein content increased from 16.9 to 19.2 IU per milliliter.
Also, taking fish oil reduced the activity of inflammatory genes in female fat cells.
Fish Oil Supplements for Strength Training
As you age over forty, it becomes more difficult for your body to build and maintain muscle mass. Because of this, people who have reached a very old age can suffer from age-related muscle weakness, and as a result, older people respond poorly to strength training compared to younger people.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the United States have found that supplementation with fish oil helps a little to speed up the anabolic processes in muscle cells.
Fish Oil for Muscle Preservation: A Study
Scientists conducted an experiment on two groups of healthy but untrained participants. One group consisted of men and women aged 18-35, the other group consisted of people aged 65-85.
The researchers got the participants to train their legs in an extension machine. Before and after training, a tissue sample was taken from the participants’ leg muscles, and the amount of muscle protein accumulated in the cells was measured over 18 hours.
Thus, the response to the load was determined in two age categories.
The elderly then repeated the procedure, but after they had taken a fish oil supplement containing 3.9 grams of DHA and EPA daily for 16 weeks. Each capsule of the supplement contained 300 mg DHA, 675 mg EPA, and an additional 75 mg of other N-3 fatty acids. The subjects took two capsules twice daily with meals.
Fish Oil Enhances Muscle Protein Synthesis
After taking fish oil supplements, the elderly showed an increase in the rate of synthesis of mixed muscle, mitochondrial and sarcoplasmic proteins before exercise (at rest).
The supplement also increased the synthesis of mitochondrial and myofibrillar proteins after exercise, that is, an increased anabolic response to exercise.
Scientists have not been able to figure out how fish oil enhances protein synthesis in muscle tissue in aged participants. They found that mitochondria in muscle cells in individuals over 65 release fewer oxidants as a result of the addition of fish oil.
Oxidants are corrosive substances that damage cells. The researchers suspect that oxidants sabotage anabolic processes in muscle cells. It is possible that cells in young adults are better at neutralizing oxidants than cells in older adults and without supplementation.
“In conclusion, we show that dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids induce potentially beneficial adaptations in skeletal muscle in the elderly, including decreased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production, increased muscle protein synthesis rates, and increased anabolic response per exercise session.” the researchers concluded.
“Future research is needed to determine if these adaptations result in significant improvements in metabolic and physical function in older adults when omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are given for longer periods of time or in combination with an exercise program.” 
However, supplementation with high doses of fish oil probably does not stimulate muscle synthesis in young adults. This follows from the data of a report published by Canadian sports scientists in 2016.  They gave 20-year-old men, who frequently exercised, 5 grams of fish oil per day for eight weeks and found no effect on protein synthesis.
- Influence of omega-3 fatty acids on skeletal muscle protein metabolism and mitochondrial bioenergetics in older adults. Antigoni Z. Lalia, Surendra Dasari, Matthew M. Robinson, Hinnah Abid, Dawn M. Morse, Katherine A. Klaus, Ian R. Lanza. Aging (Albany NY). 2017 Apr 5.
- Fish oil supplementation suppresses resistance exercise and feeding-induced increases in anabolic signaling without affecting myofibrillar protein synthesis in young men. Chris McGlory, Sophie L Wardle, Lindsay S Macnaughton.Physiol Rep. 2016 Mar;4(6):e12715.
- Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec;86(6):1670-9.
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