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Fish oil could halt effects of fatty diet

AAP logoAAP 29/08/2016 By Sarah Wiedersehn

Fish oil is known to benefit the brain and now new research suggests it could help you lose weight by supporting your metabolism.

Scientists in Brazil found daily consumption of fish oil pills reversed the effects of a high-fat diet in mice.

The researchers at the University of Sao Paulo say they've further demonstrated the beneficial properties of the fishy product.

A high-fat diet can lead to insulin resistance, weight gain and increased cholesterol, which can lead to obesity and type-2 diabetes.

If these new findings, published in Journal of Physiology, are proven in humans, it's hoped fish oil could be a new tool in fighting obesity and type-2 diabetes.

Fish oil contains a powerful omega 3 fat known as docohexaenoic acid (DHA), which your body doesn't naturally produce.

There is evidence suggesting fish oil can improve attention in children with ADHD and autism. Previous research has also demonstrated the preventative effects of omega 3 in young people at risk of schizophrenia.

The Brazilian researchers fed mice that had been administered fish oil a high-fat diet for four weeks. They then collected and analysed their body fat samples and compared them to mice on a high-fat diet that had not been consuming fish oil.

Factors that affect metabolism, fat deposits and insulin resistance were measured.

As expected, the mice fed just a high-fat diet experienced significant changes in metabolism, including in their glucose uptake and secretion of the protein adiponectin - involved in the regulation of glucose levels as well as fatty acids.

This range of metabolic alterations, however, did not arise in the mice that received the fish oil supplement.

In other words, the negative metabolic effects produced by a high-fat diet were halted by the fish oil.

"Our research suggests that fish oil supplements may be used in addition to other strategies as a preventative measure for insulin resistance and obesity," said lead researcher Professor Maria Isabel Alonso-Vale.

However, she said it's important to note the research may not translate to humans and more research is needed.

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