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Using Fat to Tackle Obesity
By Jennifer Morganti, ND NEEDS Director of Education

There is no single, magic bullet for weight loss, but there are a multitude of nutrient and lifestyle issues that need to be addressed to successfully shed unwanted pounds. The focus of a recent clinical trial addresses one of the hallmarks of obesity; that being the presence of inflammation, and how omega-3 fats can help decrease it.

It is not understood whether inflammation is a cause or effect of obesity, but it is certainly responsible for many of the health complications related to excess weight, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This small clinical study investigated the effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids on inflammatory markers in 55 severely obese adults who were scheduled for bariatric surgery (to reduce the size of the stomach). For eight weeks, the patients took 3.36 grams of omega-3 oils (containing EPA and DHA) or a placebo. Their blood was tested before and after treatment to measure a variety of inflammatory parameters and adipose tissue was measured for inflammatory gene expression. After eight weeks, there was a significant reduction in the inflammatory gene expression and the circulating inflammatory markers (such as interleukin-6 and triglycerides) also decreased significantly.

Fish oil supplementation may be a useful addition to a weight-loss program, especially to help prevent health complications related to inflammation. Dieters may struggle with this concept, as they are usually directed to avoid fat in their diet, but omega-3 fats are an essential supplementation to support weight-loss goals and improve health status.

1. Am J Clin Nutr 2012 ajcn.037432; First published online October 3, 2012. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.037432

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