Omega-3 role in weight loss

New research conducted by researchers at the University of Navarra, Iceland and University College Cork, published in the journal, Appetite, [i] suggests that taking omega-3 whilst following a weight loss programme makes people feel fuller for longer, helping to reduce appetite.

The results of this research provide useful information for the nutritional treatment of obesity, in addition to encouraging changes in dietary habits to increase and maintain weight loss.

With hundreds of weight loss products on the shelves of every supermarket and health food shop, the food industry now clearly recognises the needs of the increasingly overweight population for solutions to weight loss and weight management. This category of health supplement is already estimated to be worth $7bn, and growing fast. Clinical research studies linking obesity and other life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, stroke and cancer are another driving force behind this growth.

The findings

Over 200 volunteers were recruited to this study, who were classified as either overweight or obese. Participants were randomly allocated to an energy restricted diet and supplemented with either low (260 mg per day) or high dose (1300 mg per day) omega-3 for eight weeks. The researchers measured appetite during the last two weeks of the study.

The interesting findings of the study relate to the hunger-influencing properties of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Subjects fed dinners rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids felt less hungry and remained fuller for up to 2 hours after meals compared with those who ate a low omega- diet. The researchers hypothesise that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids must modulate hunger signals. Whilst these findings suggest a potential weight-management role for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, further research must be conducted in order to fully understand this mechanism.

Blood sample analysis also showed that a higher omega-3 concentration, and a greater ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 ratio were associated with higher satiety. With the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the region of 2:1, the average diet is now quite significantly out of balance, with an average ratio of approximately 25:1. Changes in the Western diet, modern food processing techniques and increased consumption of refined vegetable oils have been blamed for this shift, which has been linked to increases in a range of problems including emotional problems, difficulties with the circulatory system, obesity, skin problems and inattention in children.

A wealth of research already attributes increased consumption of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids to improved learning and development, better memory, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, depression and dementia. Vegepa, available in most good health food shops and online at www.igennus.com, is a patented omega-3 supplement used widely by medical practitioners for a variety of conditions. Containing 280 mg ultra-pure EPA, just two capsules daily provides the optimum dosage of omega-3 fatty acids to help maintain health and wellbeing.

[i] Dolores Parra, A.D. Ramel, N. Bandarra, M. Kiely, J.A. Martinez, I., “A diet rich in long chain omega 3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss”, Appetite, 2008, June. Awaiting publication.

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