Fish Oil and Body Fat
Regardless of diet and training program, to lose body fat, it takes dedication, hard work, and commitment to a long term plan. For most people, there will be sweat. There will be vegetables. There will be compromise. There will not be an easy way to get the body you desire.
That being said, the easiest way I’ve seen to drop body fat and decrease inflammation (which can appear as fat) without diet or exercise is adding Omega 3 fish oil supplements into your diet. Regardless if I’m Online Fitness Coaching, or Integrative Health Coaching one-one-one, the first supplement-related question I ask is: “Are you taking Fish Oil?”
Fish oil has long been hailed as a supporter of brain and heart health, but its’ aesthetic benefits should not go unnoticed! Since recommending regular fish oil to my clients, I’ve seen a marked improvement in their overall body fat measurements, but especially in the scapular region (upper back).
Here are three easy reasons to add fish oil to your diet:
Aids in body fat loss.
Fish oil is an essential fatty acid, meaning the body can’t produce it on its’ own, so they must be eaten, and our bodies must have them for optimal function. Even though fish oil is a Fat, it will not turn into fat in your body. Instead, it is the preferential source in the body to use for creating healthy cellular function, and thus increasing insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is essential for fat loss, so healthy cells = healthier body.
Decreases Inflammation, which improves body composition.
Inflammation not only wreaks havoc on your body by way of disease and delayed recovery, it also leaves a body ‘puffy’, giving the appearance of excess fat even when fat isn’t present. Omega 3’s in fish oil directly combat inflammation, as well as cortisol, the hormone created from stress that can prevent fat loss and muscle gain (as well as decrease quality of life).
Adding fish oil balances the Omega 3:Omega 6 ratio within the body.
Omega 6’s are found in cooking oils and processed foods, and thus in abundance in the Western Diet. Omega 6’s are inflammatory fats, which create an unfavorable cellular environment to lose body fat. Some researchers believe the typical Western Diet contains a ratio of 16:1, Omega 6: Omega 3 fats, thus a huge deficit to overcome if nothing changes in our whole food eating habits.
Omega-3’s on the other hand are anti-inflammatory fats, meaning they can reduce pain and increase blood flow throughout the body to enhance recovery. In fact, a study of 250 patients with chronic neck and back pain revealed that after taking 1200-2400 mg Fish Oil, 80% reported to have a significant decrease in localized pain, and 59% stopped taking their pain medication altogether. Not bad for alternative medicine with no reported side effects!
How much to consume?
There are many variables to consider before adding appropriate fish oil supplementation to ones diet (current diet, weight, desired outcome). My recommendation is to take your physical measurements (ideally body fat calipers, or tape) first to create a comparative baseline. Start on a small dosage (1-2 grams/day, or typically 2-4 fish oil pills) for a month, and see if there are any changes with physical measurements, as well as overall well-being and recovery time. If creating a positive change, stay with current dosage. If your numbers don’t change, increase dosage for a month and see if it creates a positive outcome. Many studies prescribe 3-4 grams of Omega 3’s per day to subjects, eliciting positive stimulus, so don’t worry about overdosing if you’re monitoring results and feelings closely.