Fish oil has been shown to have numerous health benefits, and one of its most important functions is its ability to help, somewhat surprisingly, with metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert food into energy that can be used by our cells. As most of us know, a healthy metabolism is critical for maintaining overall health and well-being, including the treatment and prevention of metabolic dysfunction.
Our metabolism can be measured by our metabolic rate. This is the rate at which our body uses energy (i.e., calories) to perform its various functions. The takeaway point is that the higher your metabolic rate is the better, and the more calories you will burn.
Exercise and Fish Oil
Now the interesting stuff. Research has shown that regular exercise and consuming fatty acids (FAs) from fish or fish oil can independently improve both cardiovascular and metabolic health. This alone is great news for us tired and older adults. If we exercise our metabolism improves, and if we consume fish oil it will also improve.
Another study went one step further though and looked at combining exercise and fish oil supplementation.(1) This study titled found that the combination of the two interventions was more powerful than either by itself. So be sure to get that exercise in along with your consumption of a high quality fish oil
Enzymes and Fish Oil
Another way that fish oil helps with metabolism is by increasing the activity of enzymes involved in the breakdown of fats. This means that our bodies are better able to use stored fat as a source of energy, rather than relying solely on glucose (sugar). This is particularly important for people who are trying to lose weight or improve metabolic dysfunction, as it can help to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass.1
Insulin Sensitivity and Fish Oil
Finally, fish oil has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels.(2) When we eat carbohydrates, our bodies convert them into glucose, which is then used by our cells for energy. Insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate glucose levels in the bloodstream. It signals our cells to take up glucose and use it for energy. When our bodies become resistant to insulin, glucose levels can rise. This leads to a range of health problems, including type 2 diabetes and metabolic dysfunction.
By improving insulin sensitivity, fish oil can help to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of insulin resistance. This can have a range of positive effects on overall health, including reducing inflammation, improving cardiovascular health, and promoting weight loss.
Overall, fish oil is an important nutrient that can play a key role in supporting healthy metabolism. By improving insulin sensitivity, increasing the breakdown of fats, and promoting the production of metabolism-regulating hormones, fish oil can help to support overall health and well-being. If you’re looking to support your metabolism, consider adding a high-quality fish oil supplement to your daily routine.
- 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. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1267. PMID: 17490962.
- Abbott KA, Burrows TL, Acharya S, Thota RN, Garg ML. DHA-enriched fish oil reduces insulin resistance in overweight and obese adults. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2020 Aug;159:102154. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2020.102154. Epub 2020 Jun 13. PMID: 32563863.
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