Let's talk about another benefit of fish oil: the omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish, along with its list of advantages like promoting heart health, reducing inflammation, improving reproductive health, managing depression, enhancing cognitive function and even boosting athletic performance by improving muscle cell functionality.
Interestingly fish oil seems to have an impact on human conditions and diseases. If you search for "fish oil" along with any health concern on Google you'll likely find research supporting its effectiveness.
So it's not surprising that a recent study has found that fish oil can significantly increase the resting energy expenditure of athletes by more than 10 percent. Yes that's right – fish oil helps athletes burn calories when they're relaxing in their rooms and admiring their well deserved medals and trophies.
Here's a brief overview of the study and its results; The research was conducted at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, in Iran. They divided 36 athletes into two groups. One group took two fish oil capsules daily for three weeks while the other group unknowingly received a placebo.
After the three week period the researchers observed that the athletes who consumed fish oil were burning 220 calories at rest compared to before the study. This increase in their basal metabolic rate amounting to a 10.67 percent rise was quite impressive. On the other hand the participants who received the placebo did not experience any changes in their metabolic rate.
So what's the scientific explanation behind these findings? Previous studies on fish oil primarily conducted on rodents have shown that EPA and DHA which are two omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil enhance fatty acid oxidation and increase resting energy expenditure. In terms they assist in breaking down fats for energy.
However the Iranian researchers suspected that fish oil not increases fatty acid oxidation but also upregulates a process called PPAR gamma mRNA expression (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma). This process activates genes for regulating fatty acid storage, glucose metabolism, insulin sensitivity and other functions. It also enhances the utilization of fat for energy within mitochondria. Specifically fish oil increased UCP2 mRNA expression by 3.85 fold which further stimulates fatty acid oxidation.
On a note an elevation in PPAR gamma levels is associated with an increase in appetite, towards sweet foods.
This study has confirmed that athletes who consumed fish oil experienced an increase in appetite, which's a factor to consider if you are trying to reduce body fat.
Here's how you can utilize this information;
Interestingly the study found that even a low dosage of fish oil. 2 grams per day including 600 milligrams of EPA and DHA (360 milligrams of EPA and 240 milligrams of DHA). Resulted in a significant increase in resting energy expenditure. This discovery is quite surprising because previous studies often required doses of omega 3 acids to achieve similar effects.
Usually studies demonstrating benefits from fish oil have used dosages ranging from 2400 to 3200 combined milligrams of EPA and DHA. Unfortunately many individuals follow the dosage recommendations on product labels, which may unintentionally result in underdosing.
For instance the Kirkland brand fish oil available at Costco contains 250 milligrams of EPA and DHA per serving. While this amount may meet the requirement for omega 3 fatty acids it falls short when it comes to attaining the desired therapeutic, restorative or metabolism boosting effects that many people desire.
Additionally it's worth noting that some fish oil studies might not yield results due to the use of capsules, with levels of peroxidation. This indicates that the oil has turned rancid.
Fish oil capsules that have gone through the process of peroxidation may not be very effective. Could even be potentially harmful.
The study conducted in Iran showed outcomes using a small amount of fish oil suggesting that the capsules used contained minimal levels of peroxidized fatty acids. It's possible that using doses of fish oil could further increase the resting energy expenditure, in athletes. This is just speculative until more evidence is available.
Considering the benefits of doses of fish oil and concerns surrounding peroxidation supplements, like Shred with MCT, which offer sufficient omega 3 fatty acids are worth considering as a valuable option.