Personally I have been taking fish oil capsules for many years now as part of my daily supplement intake, one every morning, however after recent research I found that this was not benefiting my body nearly enough. Below I will explain the benefits of Fish Oil.

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and since our bodies cannot make these it is crucial that it is supplemented. Omega-3 fatty acids play important roles in brain function, normal growth and development, and inflammation. Many people across the world buy their fish oil over the counter, however, these over the counter fish oils comes in capsule form. The recommended amount of capsules (as it appears on the label) is one capsule daily, when the correct beneficial amount that should be consumed each day is 5-7ml, which is around 5 capsules- Amazing isn’t it!

Weight loss is one of the main reasons that people begin to use fish oil.  Fish oil won’t turn into fat in the body. Instead, the body will favourably use the fat from fish oil to build the outside lipid (fat) layer that protects our cells. Any kind of fat can be used to do this—trans fats, omega-6 fats, whatever you eat—but your cells will function the best, and metabolism will be optimal if fish oil makes up the cell lipid layer because it improves the activity of insulin. This allows for better insulin sensitivity, which is a principal factor in fat loss. If you have poor insulin sensitivity, you will have a very difficult time losing fat.

You can see fish oil working its fat loss magic in a study that gave healthy subjects 4 grams of fish oil or the same dose of safflower oil (an omega-6 fat) for 6 weeks without including exercise into the study. The participants who took the fish oil significantly lost body fat and increased muscle mass. Of interest, the participants in this study had a decrease in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol after taking the fish oil. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that degrades muscle, leads to fat gain, and makes you feel stressed out.

Fish Oil has be found to help you build muscle as well as weight loss because its anabolic. Fish oil decreases coritisol, which leads to make you believe it is anabolic, there is research to back this up; a new study that was performed on aging rats showed that giving them fish oil for 8weeks increased protein synthesis and helped them increase muscle cross-sectional area.  The good news is that studies have shown that it has the same affect in humans. A study that gave middle-age adults 4 grams of fish oil a day found that it increased protein synthesis, producing a significant muscle building effect. The mTOR pathway that produces muscle growth was enhanced by 30 percent, as was muscle cell membrane signalling—the same mechanism via which insulin health is improved also enhances muscle building. Muscle mass increased by 2 percent.

Cholesterol is affected by your diet which in turn affects your weight. A group of Eskimos in Greenland provided the first indication that fish oils could play a beneficial role in controlling cholesterol and preventing coronary heart disease. Eskimos are known for consuming a diet rich in fat, however they had low blood-cholesterol levels and rarely suffered from heart disease, closer scrutiny of the Eskimo diet uncovered fish as the source of most of the fat.

The fat in these fish, however, was different from the fat found in other animals. It was rich in two polyunsaturated fatty acids, docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These omega-3 fatty acids’, are found in marine vegetation called phytoplankton. Fish obtain these fatty acids by feeding on phytoplankton and then storing them in their own body fat.

Many supplements claim to contain one gram of fish oil, but it can vary. To avoid a fishy aftertaste, keep the fish oil supplements in the refrigerator. Omega-3 fatty acids should not be used to lower LDL cholesterol; in fact, they may slightly raise LDL cholesterol.

By Vikki Mckay

Personal Trainer at Liverpool Personal Training Studios

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