Get special offers, recipes, health news, PLUS our FREE seafood cooking guide!
Got it, thanks! Click here for your FREE seafood cooking guide & recipes e-booklet.
Food, Health, and Eco-news
Omega-3s Advised for Burning Fat and Curbing Appetite
“Women’s Health” magazine recommends fish and omega-3s to boost metabolism and gain body composition and weight benefits 05/25/2009 by Craig Weatherby

Last week, we noticed an article from Women's Health magazine, titled "To lose weight, turbocharge your metabolism.”

You'll find it on the Today show Web siteAs the article introduction says, "… slaving away inside your body—right this minute—is your very own personal trainer working tirelessly to help you burn calories and shed fat. It's called your metabolism, and it's the sum of everything your body does.”

This is very true, and the piece goes on to recommend various metabolism-boosting measures.

The recommended steps range from good breakfasts and a protein-focused lunches to drinking tea, coffee, and cold water, eating chilies and dairy foods, getting ample sleep, and doing interval training.

(Interval training is proven to produce greater calorie burning than aerobic exercise done at a steady pace. Follow bursts of high exertion with an equal interval of more relaxed exercise …e.g., alternate brief spans of all-out sprinting with equal-time intervals of walking.)

Naturally, the tips that jumped out at us recommend dietary omega-3s for two different benefits, since fish oil supplements and fatty fish may offer two distinct metabolic benefits: better appetite control and a boost in fat burning.

Omega-3s may quash overactive appetites
Here's what the editors of Women's Health wrote about the effects of omega-3s on appetite control:
"Eat Nemo's pals. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are loaded with hunger-quashing omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats help trigger the rapid transfer of ‘I'm full' signals to your brain, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"Bonus: A 3.5-ounce serving of salmon nets you 90 percent of your recommended daily value of vitamin D, which will help preserve your precious calorie-craving, metabolism-stoking muscle tissue” (WH 2009).

We could not find the NIH statement cited by Women's Health, but instead discovered a supportive study from Spain.

The Spanish trial showed that, in a group of overweight people, a diet higher in omega-3s produced a greater sense of satisfaction (satiety) following a meal.

The researchers recruited 232 overweight and obese volunteers, and randomly assigned them to a low-calorie diet, supplemented with either a low (260 mg per day) or high dose (1300 mg per day) of omega-3s for eight weeks.

Compared with people who got the low dose omega-3 pills, the participants who took the higher dose of omega-3s reported fewer hunger sensations for up to two hours following a meal.

As the Spanish team reported, "In conclusion, [higher omega-3] intake modulates [increases] postprandial satiety [sense of fullness following a meal] in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss” (Parra D et al. 2008).

Note: The figure they cite for vitamin D is probably for farmed salmon. Wild salmon provides much more… about 687 IU in a 3.5 oz serving of sockeye, which is 343 percent of the RDA from infancy to age 50 (400 IU). For the vitamin D content of Vital Choice fish, see our vitamin D table.

Fishy tip for burning fat
Here's what the Women's Health article said about omega-3s increasing the impact of your work out:

"Combining regular exercise with fish-oil supplements increases the activity of your fat-burning enzymes, reports a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
"Volunteers took six grams of fish oil daily and worked out three times a week. After 12 weeks, they'd lost an average of 3.4 pounds, while those who exercised exclusively saw minimal shrinkage” (WH 2009).

We reported on this study (Hill AM et al. 2007) in "Exercise + Omega-3s = Perfect Weight Loss Pair

The trial participants took a whopping 1,920 mg of omega-3s (360 milligrams of omega-3 EPA and 1560 milligrams of omega-3 DHA), two hours before beginning a workout.

This is an unnaturally high dose of omega-3s, with an artificially high ratio of DHA to EPA, because the manufacturer of the donated fish oil manipulated it chemically to increase its DHA content.

You'd need to take 12 of our 1,000mg Sockeye Salmon Oil capsules to get the same omega-3 intake because it provides natural levels of EPA and DHA… not chemically concentrated amounts.

While we can't know for sure, it seems likely that lesser omega-3 intakes would provide substantial metabolic benefits over time, as baseline blood levels rise over time.

And don't forget to count the omega-3s in fish you eat before working out… most of ours provide plentiful portions of EPA and DHA.

For example, a 3.75 oz can of Traditional Wild Red Sockeye has 804mg of total omega-3s, including 288mg of EPA and 445mg of DHA … almost half the intake tested successfully in Australia (1,920mg).

For more about the exercise- and metabolism enhancing potentials of omega-3s and fatty fish, see "Wild Salmon Excels for Sports and Fitness,” "Fish-Borne Mineral May Deter Metabolic Syndrome,” "Omega-3s Seen to Fight Metabolic Syndrome,” and "Vitamin D Seen to Strengthen Girls.

    • Hill AM, Buckley JD, Murphy KJ, Howe PR. Combining fish-oil supplements with regular aerobic exercise improves body composition and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1267-74.
    • Parra D, Ramel A, Bandarra N, Kiely M, Martínez JA, Thorsdottir I. A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss. Appetite. 2008 Nov;51(3):676-80. Epub 2008 Jun 14.
    • Women's Health (WH). To lose weight, turbocharge your metabolism. May 22, 2009. Accessed at