fish-oil-capsules

Have you ever started a diet where the scale is stuck on your starting weight forever? Crushing your will to start loosing weight at the very beginning?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a magic pill that could help us start losing weight? That way we would get the initial self-confidence success boost that makes it easier to make changes in our diet and start exercising.

It turns out there is! It’s not an anti obesity drug and it really works!

Start losing weight with fish oil

How successful you are in loosing weight at the beginning of your diet is a strong predictor of how much weight you’re going to loose in the long run. ( Wadden et al., 1992;  Fabricatore et al., 2009). That’s why it’s so important to have positive first results when starting to loose weight.

This little boost of confidence we need to achieve our weight goals can come from fish-oil! Research shows that fish-oil helps reduce fat mass and increases lean mass (Eric E Noreen et al., 2010,  Thorsdottir I. et al, 2007 )  in addition to being beneficial to your heart, brain and joint health.

Weight loss has been noticed with adults who are taking fish-oil daily and haven’t made any other changes to their diet or exercise routine. In the study 44 men and women were given 2 gr of omega-3 fatty acids for a period of 6 weeks. After this period in the average they lost about 2 lbs (0.9kg) of body fat!

To start your diet could you do something as simple as taking fish oil capsules two times a day for a month?

Taking omega 3 capsules every day will benefit you in two ways:

  •  You will have the satisfaction of having completed a goal which will boost your self-confidence and make it easier to achieve the next small goal you set yourself on your weight loss journey.
  • You will start loosing weight and do something very useful for the health of your entire body. Even if your weight loss is very small you still have the bonus of other health related benefits.

My personal Experience

I started taking fish oil capsules while being on a diet. At that point I had already lost  15 lbs and had still 10 lbs more until my target weight. I was at a stage where my diet was “broken” and the weight loss stopped. I noticed that by taking 2 fish oil capsules of omega 3 fatty acids every day boosted my diet again and helped me get closer to my target weight. I haven’t changed anything else in my diet regime, I just added the fish oil and it resulted in continued weight loss. My body obviously had a nutrient deficiency since I wasn’t eating a lot of fatty fish or other sources of omega 3 acids.  Up to 95% of the population is deficient in omega 3 fatty acids! By just taking 2 capsules a day I managed to kick start my diet and weight loss again, helping me to get to my target weight.

Health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids

Fish oil  helped me loose weight but what are these little yellow gel capsules? The important ingredients in fish oil are omega-3 fatty acids which are polyunsaturated essential fatty acids. This means that our bodies can’t produce omega-3 fats, we must get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids control important processes in our body like blood clotting, building of cell membranes in the brain, etc. Health benefits from omega 3 acids are widly researched and include:

  • Cholesterol and triglycerides.
    Omega 3 fatty acids lower cholesterol by lowering triglycerides and elevating HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Blood clotting.
    Omega 3 fatty acids prevent forming of blood clots reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
  • Joint health.
    Omega 3 fatty acids reduce joint paint and stiffness in rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Bone health.
    Reducing the loss of calcium from the bones preventing osteoporosis.
  • Depression.
    Food high in omega 3 fatty acids lowers levels of depression.
  • Inflammation.
    Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Further research is needed in this area.

Which omega-3 supplement to choose – a guide to buying

There are two kinds of omega 3 fatty acids :

  • ALA–  alpha-linolenic acid (plant source- suitable for vegetarians)
    It is found in vegetables and in some oils. Sources are soybean oil, rapeseed oil (canola), flaxseed oil , walnuts, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and salad greens. Vegetarians usually use ALA as omega3 fatty acid supplements.
  • DHA i EPA (animal source)
    Main source are fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, whitefish.

There is a variety of supplements to choose from when it comes to omega 3 fatty-acids. Here’s what to watch out for when buying fish-oil capsules.

  • Source

    Check if the the omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (usually from flax seed oil) or DHA and EPA fatty acids (from fish or algae).
    DHA and EPA fatty acids are recommended for heart and artery disease prevention. The American Heart Association recommends about 1 g (1000mg) of EPA+DHA per day for people with documented coronary heart disease.

    ALA (usually from flax seed oil): ALA is suitable for vegetarians. Our body partially converts ALA to EPA and DHA, but in low amounts. If you have a poor diet and use ALA supplements you won’t have the health benefits DHA and EPA can provide. If you are a vegetarian and need DHA and EPA as supplements look for omega-3 sources from algae.

    DHA and EPA  (from fish) Usually oil from farmed fish like salmon. It can also be made from wild deep sea fish but is much more expensive then. There are no major differences found in the composition of omega-3 fatty acids from farmed and wild fish.

    DHA and EPA  (from algae). The high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in fish actually originates from green algae in the sea. Green algae are extremely high in EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids. Compared to fish oil, supplements from algae seem to be very similar. The only difference is that the daily recommended dosage is usually lower since it is more concentrated with DHA than fish oil.

    Decide if you want  ALA or  DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids

  • Contamination

    Our oceans are over fished and contaminated and so is our fish oil. When buying fish oil you should check if it is free of heavy metals (specially arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead) , PCB’s and dioxins. Most of the producers claim that their products are free of contaminants but independent laboratory consumer checks have proven that those claims are not always true. The only way to know is to ask for a producers Certificate of Analysis that will show the exact measured amounts of contaminants in a certain brand.

    Ask for a Certificate of Analysis to check real contamination values

  • Freshness

    It is important to check if the oil in the capsules is rancid or fresh.  Oil gets rancid when it oxidizes in the contact with oxygen.  But if the oil in the capsules is oxidized it can have harming effects by increasing inflammation.  Vitamin E naturally prevents oxydation of oils.  That’s why it is recommended to buy brands that have added vitamin E. One way to check if the oil oxidized is by tasting the oil from the capsules. It shouldn’t have a foul taste. Also check the expiration date. Buy as fresh as possible.

    Look out for fish oil capsules with added vitamin E  to prevent the oil going rancid

  • Concentration

    It is important to use highly concentrated forms of omega-3 acids. This way you will only have to eat one or two capsules a day, a small amount of oil, which reduces contamination possibility. A highly concentrated omega-3 supplement should have more than 750 mg of EPA and DHA even better if it has 1000 mg per capsule.

    Look for the label high concentrated. Check the daily recommended dosage instructions.

    Look out for highly concentrated fish oil capsules with more than 750 mg of EPA and DHA .

  • Absorption

    This is more a suggestion for consuming than buying fish oil. Data suggests that absorption of EPA and DHA is much better when eating fatty meals tham when taken on an empty stomach.

    Take fish oil capsules after a meal for better absorption.

Precautions

Fish oil intake in healthy adults has minimal risk and no side effects but fish oil can increase your risk of bleeding and interact with some medication like aspirin and blood thinners. Before adding this supplement to your diet please consult your doctor.

Otherwise omega-3 fatty acids can improve your health and help you get on with your weight loss. With help of fish oil you will boost your metabolism and loose extra pounds.

Photo credit: Fish oil capsules by Jo Christian Oterhals