July 28, 2006

Australian study finds fish oil helps weight loss

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Fatty acids, which are found in fish,
can help in weight loss when combined with moderate exercise,
an Australian study found.

The University of South Australia study found that daily
doses of fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids helped obese
people burn off excess weight.

"The omega-3 found in fish oil increases fat-burning
ability by improving the flow of blood to muscles during
exercise," university researcher Alison Hill told Reuters.

The university's study monitored 68 overweight and obese
people, divided into four groups, over three months.

One group took small daily doses of fish oil and another
was given sunflower oil with no other alteration to their
normal diet. Both groups undertook moderate exercise programs
of a 45-minute walk or run three times a week. Another two
groups received either fish oil or sunflower oil but did no

The study found that those who took the fish oil doses and
exercised lost an average of 2 kg (4.5 lb.) over the three

The groups that took sunflower oil, which does not contain
omega-3 fatty acids, and exercised did not lose any weight. The
two groups that did not exercise also lost no weight, the study

"We were very surprised to see it was so effective,
especially since these people were still eating whatever they
wanted," Hill said.

A six-year study by the Rush University Medical Center in
Chicago found last year that omega-3 fatty acids helped boost
brain functioning as well as cut the risk of stroke. It also
helped protect the brain as people age, the Chicago study

Hill said future studies were planned that would take place
over longer periods and with increased exercise.