Most doctors, with maybe the exception of Dr. Oz, will tell you there’s no magic pill for weight loss, but a growing body of scientific evidence says the effects of fish oil capsules come pretty close. Fish oil contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — both of which help prevent the accumulation of belly fat. Fish oil has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a way to lower triglycerides levels and cholesterol, but a new study on mice from the University of São Paulo found that taking fish oil supplements actually reversed the negative health impacts of a high-fat diet.
For four weeks, researchers fed two groups of mice a diet high in fats, but supplemented the test group’s diet with fish oil. After the trial was completed, the team analyzed insulin resistance and fat deposits, and found that the negative metabolic abnormalities were absent in the mice given fish oil supplements. Maria Isabel Alonso-Vale, the lead researcher, was confident these positive results would apply to human subjects as well, but said more research still needed to be done.
Fortunately, research testing the effects of fish oil on small samples of human subjects already exists. A 2010 study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that, compared to the control group, the subjects who supplemented their meals with fish oil “significantly increased lean mass and decreased fat mass.” A recent comprehensive meta-analysis of 21 different studies had similar results; though current evidence cannot support an exact anti-obesity role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, “subjects may benefit from reducing abdominal fat with fish oil supplementation, especially when combined with life modification intervention.”
In other words, fish oil might not be a miracle cure, but if you follow a healthy diet while taking it, it could accelerate weight loss results.