Stop swimming upstream with your weight loss! Time to Add Fish Oil

Before I am finished with this article, I hope to convince you that fish oil is something that every one of us should take- regardless of where you are on your weight loss journey

Fish oil is a common term used to refer to two kinds of Ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These Ω-3 fats are usually found in fish, animal products and phytoplankton.

A typical American diet (which we all know is crappy) is high in Ω-6 fatty acids. A healthy goal is to have Ω-3 and Ω -6 fatty acids in a 1:1 ratio. This ratio is associated with better cardiac health and other many other health benefits as you will see below.

How it works:

If you are a geek like I am, you will find this interesting.  Fish oil works primarily through eicosanoids, which are signaling molecules (they basically tell other cells what to do- think mother-in-laws).  The ratio of Ω 3:6 fatty acids will influence which eicosanoids are released in response to stress. There are 3 types of Eicosanoids: resolvins (which resolve inflammation), protectins (which protect our nervous system), and prostaglandins (which inhibit platelet aggregation among other functions). A 1:1 ratio of Ω 3:6 causes decreased inflammation, decreased plaque formation, and is neuroprotective.

Clinically proven benefits:

I have always heard that fish oil was great for your cholesterol and joints, but until I really dug into the research, I had no idea how incredible this supplement is for your overall health. Here is a summary of the data that I have carefully reviewed for you:

  1. Memory- There is evidence to support an increase in memory is associated with DHA supplementation. Who doesn’t need that ?!
  2. Aggressive behavior and stress- Is anyone stressed out there? In otherwise healthy persons, DHA appears to prevent excessive aggression in times of stress and has been found to prevent a decline in aggression during de-stressing follow-up periods. EPA modulates immune function associated with stress.
  3. Depression– There is evidence to support that fish oil acts as an antidepressant alone, as well as helping the effects of antidepressants that you may be taking. No brainer!
  4. Blood flow and Oxygenation– Fish oil appears to promote blood flow to the brain, which positively impacts memory and brain health.
  5. Stroke- It is likely that fish oil supplementation has both a therapeutic and preventative role for stroke victims.
  6. Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease– Higher fish intake is associated with a lower risk of developing dementia, and reduced DHA levels are associated with a higher risk of dementia. EPA appears to be associated with preserving brain mass over time, which we all lose as we age.
  7. Pain– Supplemental fish oil has been found to reduce pain in persons with inflammatory joint pain. (Resolvin E1 (from EPA) and Resolvin D2 (from DHA) appear to act via a novel receptor to prevent the pro-inflammatory cytokine known as TNF-α from inducing pain). Again, if your knees or hips or shoulders hurt from arthritis, fish oil will help!
  8. Cardiovascular Health– Your heart is important- why not protect it! Fish oil reliably and potently reduces triglyceride levels after several weeks of supplementation. Fish oil supplementation can increases good cholesterol (HDL) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) when combined with a statin. As mentioned above, normalizing the Ω 3:6 ratio is associated with cardioprotection.
  9. Diabetes and Insulin Sensitivity– there is some evidence that fish oil might increase insulin sensitivity. There appears to be a decreased risk of diabetes with a normalized Ω 3:6 ratio. This is an important benefit if you have or are at risk for diabetes, or have insulin resistance.
  10. Fat Mass and Obesity– This is the best! Fish oil may increase metabolic rate, improve fat metabolism and increase fat loss, and decrease hunger- all of which can improve weight loss.
  11. Muscle Mass and Hypertrophy– fish oil augments muscle protein synthesis and increases insulin sensitivity at the level of the muscle. This leads to muscle hypertrophy and increased metabolic rate. Did you hear me? Increased muscle! Higher metabolism! That’s awesome!
  12. Inflammation– Fish oil decreases inflammatory mediators such as IL-2, IL-6 and TNF, decreasing dangerous inflammation throughout the body.

Quality Does Matter!

A great way to think of medical grade quality supplements verses over the counter is the comparison of a brand name drug verses a generic.  The level of quality of the raw ingredients, formulation and efficacy must meet certain standards that are not required by over the counter supplements.  The way I look at it is if I am going to swallow a pill and have the ingredients released into my body, I want it to be the purest form possible. The Orthomega® 820 is a high-concentration fish oil sourced from waters off the Chilean coast. As the world’s least industrialized coastline, these cold, fresh waters provide the cleanest, most sustainable source of fish in the world.

In summary:

Everything you put into your body should have a risk: benefit profile.  Fish oil is a no brainer!  The risks are negligible, the benefits numerous.  Like many of you, I hate taking pills, but I have my whole family on fish oil for the reasons listed above.  I can already tell a noticeable different. Whether it is for your brain, your joints, your mood, or your weight, Fish Oil is an amazing supplement that will benefit most if not all of us!

Timothy Kane
I've been taking fish oil supplements for 3yrs to help with my atrial fibrulation with minimal results. It wasn't until I added tuna fish to my diet that I began to experience the benefits you mentioned except the weight loss.