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Can Fish Oil Reduce Belly Fat? (9 Amazing Health Benefits)

Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

Fish oil refers to oil extracted from the tissue of fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and cod.

But in this article, we’ll be referring to the supplements commonly used among fitness enthusiasts and common folks.

And while several studies show it’s great for heart health and bodybuilding, it led me to wonder if it plays a role in burning belly fat.

So, I paired up with a fellow trainer and diet specialist, and we reviewed a good deal of literature on this subject.

Here’s what we found.

Quick Summary

  • Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may play a role in fat loss management.
  • While directly targeting belly fat loss isn’t possible, one can aim for overall body weight loss, ultimately leading to losing weight in the belly region.
  • Fish oil plays a major role in reducing high blood pressure and lowering the likelihood of several heart-related issues.

Can Fish Oil Help Burn Belly Fat?

Close up image of fish oil in a bottle container

No, fish oil cannot help burn belly fat directly. But it can help you reduce your overall body weight, including your belly.

The harsh reality of fat loss is that there’s no such thing as spot fat removal.

So, you cannot directly target fat loss in one specific part; that’s something your genetics and lifestyle decide.

However, that doesn’t mean fish oil can’t help you lose weight overall.

While there is no direct evidence to suggest that fish oil burns fat, many studies suggest that it aids weight loss and muscle growth due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids.

Let’s break down the potential mechanism of action.

Weight Loss Benefits of Fish Oil

Showing fish oil with fit body

Here are some of the benefits fish oil can have on your weight loss.

May Increase Metabolism

Fish oil can help you reduce body fat by potentially increasing your metabolism.

Your body’s metabolism determines how many calories you burn, especially while at rest. The higher it is, the more calories you burn, and the easier it becomes to lose weight and keep it off.

A study with healthy adults found that taking fish oil supplements every day may slightly increase your metabolism [1].

May Help Curb Appetite

Consuming fish oil every day may help you lose weight by reducing your appetite.

One study comparing healthy people on a weight loss diet found that the high fish oil group reported feeling more satiated after their meals [2].

Another study found that omega-3 increased satiety levels in obese people but decreased them in non-obese people [3].

However, more studies are required on these effects before we can make any conclusions.

May Boost Insulin Sensitivity

Consuming fish oil may reduce insulin resistance and enhance its sensitivity. With more sensitive insulin, your body is less likely to store food as fat.

A 2017 study showed that short-term omega-3 supplementation was associated with increased insulin sensitivity in people who had metabolic disorders [4].

May Reduce the Effect of Stress Hormones

A happy stress free woman

High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can increase food cravings for sugary and fatty foods while also increasing your appetite [5].

Omega-3 supplementation has been shown to reduce basal cortisol levels, which may ultimately help fight unhealthy food cravings as a result of stress [6].

May Increase Muscle Mass

Muscle is metabolically active, meaning the more muscle you have, the more efficiently you burn calories [7].

Some evidence claims that fish oil increases muscle size and strength, potentially contributing to increased calorie burning [8].

May Reduce Triglyceride Levels

High triglyceride levels in your blood could lead to the hardening or clogging of your arteries [9].

Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly reduce blood triglyceride levels, reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack [10].

Other Benefits

Fit woman stretching outdoors

In addition to aiding weight loss, this oil has other tremendous health benefits [11].

It can:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
  • Reduce the chances of heart attack, stroke, abnormal heart rhythm, and sudden cardiac arrest

“We have to have high levels of omega-3s in our diet, and I agree with that. Omega-3s tend to be inflammation-reducing, hopefully, will offset the incredible amount of omega-6s that have found their way into the American diet.”

- Dr. David Perlmutter, MD, FACN

FAQs

What Does a Good Fish Oil Supplement Contain?

A good fish oil supplement contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Before purchasing fish oil for weight loss, make sure it has these two ingredients.

Do I Need To Eat Fish Oil Supplements if My Diet Already Contains Fish?

Yes, you may need to eat fish oil supplements even if your diet already contains fish. Taking supplements ensures that you get your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids.

Can Overeating Fish Oil Lead to Weight Gain?

Yes, overeating fish oil could lead to weight gain. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European equivalent of the FDA, recommends a daily intake of no more than 5,000 mg.

What Worked for Our Clients

Given that a good deal of seafood in the US is linked with mercury poisoning, we’ve always advised our clients to consume fish oil instead of eating fish.

However, to burn fat efficiently, nothing is as effective as a high-quality fat-burning supplement.

While these don’t have the same nutritional value as fish oil, they’re an excellent addition to your diet plan.

After exhaustively researching many products on the market, we found these to be the most effective and promising.

Browse through our list and find one that best suits your fitness goals.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25054452
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18602429
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24129365
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28673352/
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320935
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23390041/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3661116/
  8. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/fish-oil-bodybuilding
  9. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186
  10. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-fish-oil/art-20364810
  11. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/omega-3-fish-oil-supplements-for-high-blood-pressure
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