Can Taking Fish Oil Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

Fish oil supplements are typically derived from fatty fish, per Medical News Today. They are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential nutrients the body needs for various functions. The two main types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements are DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty fish like mackerel and salmon. However, ALA (alpha-linoleic acid), which is another type of omega-3 fatty acid, is seen in plant oils, like flaxseeds.

The common benefits of omega-3 fish oil include supporting heart health, reducing the chance of stroke, lowering triglycerides, and improving blood pressure, according to the experts at WebMD. Along with the array of potential health benefits, some people may also believe that fish oils could help with weight loss. But can they? Here's what to consider when using them to shed a couple of pounds of your waist.

Can fish oil supplements help with weight loss?

Concerning weight loss, the evidence is mixed as to whether or not fish oil supplements can help you lose weight. On one hand, fish oil supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to regulate metabolism according to a 2014 randomized controlled trial published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. With that being said, an increased metabolism could be beneficial for weight loss since it helps burn calories faster.

In fact, a 2022 randomized control trial published in the journal Nutricion Hospitalaria noted a significant decrease in the waist, weight, fat count, and BMI of the subjects taking omega-3 supplementation. Another 2007 randomized trial in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking fish oil supplements and exercising lead to weight loss. However, the study highlights that any potential weight loss benefits of fish oil supplements are likely to be modest and should be viewed as part of an overall healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise.

On the other hand, other studies have found no significant effect of fish oil supplements on weight loss. For example, a 2015 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found no evidence to support the use of omega-3 supplements for weight loss.

Other benefits of taking fish oil supplements

One of the key benefits of taking fish oil supplements is supporting heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil supplements have been shown to improve cholesterol levels, which can help lower the risk of heart disease, says Healthline. In addition to supporting heart health, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which might be beneficial for a wide range of health conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Another potential benefit of taking fish oil supplements is improving brain function. In other words, they could reduce the chances of depressive episodes, according to a 2022 study published in the journal Nutrients. Fish oil supplements might also have potential benefits for eye health, such as reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

While fish oil supplements are generally considered safe, they can have potential side effects, including upset stomach, nausea, and a fishy aftertaste, among others. Therefore, it's always best to consult with your doctor before supplementation.