fish oil for fat loss

Fish Oil For Fat Loss

Of the many powerful benefits of fish oil, fat loss is one of the lesser known. It's time to spread the word!

Fish oil is most effective for fat loss in overweight individuals because of how it fixes your metabolism. This article explains how it works.

#1: Fish Oil Can Help You Lose Body Fat

Fish oil is made up of the omega-3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. That fish oil is basically pure dietary fat might make you think it will make you fat. The opposite is true!

Fish oil doesn't turn into fat in the body. Instead, the body uses the fat from fish oil for several purposes, including to build the outside lipid (fat) layer that protects our cells. Any kind of fat can be used to do this—trans fats, omega-6 fats, whatever you eat—but your cells will function the best if they are composed of omega-3 fats. Cells that are made of omega-3 fish oils are more sensitive to the hormone insulin. If you have poor insulin sensitivity, you will have a very difficult time losing fat because an enzyme involved in fat storage called Lipoprotein Lipase will be elevated.

The other benefit of fish oil is that it increases the energy the body expends through digestion, known as the thermic effect. One study found that when overweight men increased their fish oil intake, the thermic effect increased by 51 percent. This translates into more calories being burned over the course of the day.

#2: Fish Oil Can Help You Build Muscle

An important part of fat loss is maintaining (or building) muscle. Muscle drives your metabolism, burning the bulk of your calories. Fish oil has an anabolic effect, stimulating protein synthesis so that you increase muscle. A study from Gettysburg College that gave middle-age adults 4 grams of fish oil a day found that fish oil increased protein synthesis, producing a significant increase in lean mass.

The mTOR pathway that produces muscle growth was enhanced by 30 percent. Muscle mass increased by 2 percent, or about 1 pound. Subjects also decreased body fat by 1.3 pounds.

#3: Fish Oil Decreases Inflammation, Enhancing Body Composition

Inflammation in the body is damaging for health, but it also significantly impacts your ability to lose body fat and build muscle.

Inflammation is a word that has little meaning for most people. People don’t understand that “inflammation” equals disease, illness, delayed recovery from injury, and obesity. Inflammation has special relevance for fat loss. Did you know that fat tissue actually produces inflammation on its own, leading to a chronically inflamed biological environment?

Fish oil has the opposite effect. It exerts powerful anti-inflammatory properties throughout the body. For example, fish oil decreases cortisol, a stress hormone that is associated with a buildup of inflammation in the body. From an acute standpoint, fish oil will reduce the inflammation that occurs after a single stressful episode, such as a tough workout.

For example, fish oil reduced muscle soreness and pain after an intense muscle-damaging workout, indicating lower inflammation. Scientists theorize that fish oil helps eliminate waste products produced in response to energy metabolism during exercise, enhancing the anabolic properties in muscle tissue.

What it all comes down to is that getting the optimal percentage of your dietary fat from fish oil will convey these anti-inflammatory benefits:

a) speed detoxification of stuff you don’t want in your body (waste products, inflammatory biomarkers),

b) improve cellular health and muscle building,

c) decrease hormones that cause inflammation, and

d) help you be lean and feel better.

#4: Fish Oil Improves Insulin Sensitivity And Metabolism

Recall that fish oil improves insulin sensitivity by allowing the cell receptors to bind more easily with insulin. Once insulin is bound, its purpose is to shuttle glucose from dietary carbs into the muscles to be stored and used as energy. If insulin can’t bind easily, it causes inflammation.

Insulin also plays a role in muscle building, which is the reason it is called an anabolic hormone. By taking fish oil, insulin will improve the muscle building process by loading nutrients into the muscle like creatine and carnitine that are essential for physical performance and fat burning.

An example is a study of women with type 2 diabetes who took either 1.5 or 2.5 grams of fish oil a day. After 30 days, both groups decreased body fat and shrunk their waistlines.

Notably, the group on the low 1.5-gram dose experienced the greatest reduction in belly fat and improvement in insulin health. This indicates that supplementation should be based on individual needs to pad omega-3 intake from the diet.

Get The Right Amount of Fish Oil For Fat Loss

Fish oil is a smart addition to your diet that can help with fat loss. Here are some suggestions for getting more omega-3s into your diet:

  • Get most of your omega-3s from EPA and DHA, with only a small intake of the third omega-3, alpha linolenic acid (ALA) that is provided by flax seed.
  • Cut down on omega-6 fats, especially the ones found in processed foods. Known as AA and LA, these fatty acids are from plant rather than marine sources. They include seeds, soy, and vegetable oils, such as corn, soybean, canola, etc.
  • Omega-6 fatty acids compete with the same enzymes the body needs to use omega-3s in fish oil. If you eat too many omega-6 fats there won’t be enough enzymes available to convert the omega-3s. Ideally, you want a balanced intake of omega-6 to omega-3 fat. Studies estimate the average Western diet provides a ratio between 16:1 and 50:1 of omega-6 to omega-3 fats.
  • Researchers estimate that large reductions in omega-6 intake decrease our need for omega-3s dramatically—by 90 percent in some cases. By eating fewer omega-6 fats, they won’t be fighting for enzymes with the omega-3s.
  • Try a “whole diet” approach to get the complex nutrient and fat requirements for optimal body composition: Eat wild cold water fish, pasture raised, grass-fed beef, and wild meats.
  • Supplement with high-quality fish oil that is tested for quality and purity.
  • Round your fat intake out with nuts, olive oil, avocado, and coconut oil, with very limited intake of other organic oils. Avoid hydrogenated, trans fat, and processed foods.

 

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