Fish oil is most known for its beneficial heart and cardiovascular effects, and continues to top the list of health promoting supplements. Fish oil is unique in its ability to protect against heart disease and promote cardiovascular health in all people, regardless of age or baseline health status [1, 2]. Fish oil improves the blood lipid profile and is especially effective at lowering triglycerides (a.k.a. blood fats).[3] It also has beneficial effects on blood platelet activity, blood thickness, as well as blood vessel (endothelial) function [4-11], blood vessel elasticity [12], and blood pressure [13, 14], among other things.
In 2004 FDA approved a prescription fish oil preparation for treatment of high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia) [3, 15, 16]. Accumulating research shows that fish oil also has other beneficial effects, which are more visually notable… notably, fat loss!

Early studies on fish oil and fat loss
In the 80s early 90s, several animal studies showed that fish oil markedly reduces body fat [17-20] and weight gain [21-24], and limits adipose tissue growth [25-27]. These effects have been seen during both a decreased [18, 22], constant [20] and even increased energy intakes [21]. This indicates that the fatty acids in fish oil – EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – have an effect on the partitioning of fat between fat burning and storage in the body.
Does it work in humans – what’s in it for me?
At this point you might be thinking “ok, that sounds all nice, but I’m not a rat. Does it work in humans”?
Read on…
Fish oil as part of a non-dieting habitual lifestyle
Several studies have shown that fish oil also can help people get in shape. In a landmark study of healthy young non-obese males, 6 g of fat from butter, olive oil, sunflower oil and peanut oil was replaced with 6 g fish oil (providing 1,100 mg EPA and 700 mg DHA) per day [28]. After 3 weeks the researchers noted a significantly increased resting fat burning (fat oxidation) and a 1.94 lb (0.88 kg) decrease in body fat (measured by the golden standard method DEXA). There was no change in body weight. This fat loss was seen despite instructions for the subjects to not change their usual exercise and food habits.
Another study, also against a background of constant food and exercise routines, gave obese type 2 diabetic female subjects 1,080 mg EPA and 720 mg DHA for 2 months, or placebo paraffin oil [29]. Even though there was no change in body weight, the fish oil group demonstrated a significant reduction in fat mass by 3.6 lb (1,614 kg). This fat mass reduction was mainly due to a decrease in belly (trunk) fat. In addition, the fish oil group experienced a reduction in average fat cell size by 6.3% [29].
It has also been found that supplementing with fish oil for 3 weeks (1,100 g EPA and 700 g DHA daily) significantly decreases insulin levels and increases fat burning after consumption of carbohydrate rich meals [30]. Supplementation with a higher fish oil dose – providing 2,400 mg EPA and 1,600 mg DHA – for 3 weeks also boosts fat burning during jogging exercise [31].
Fish oil combined with exercise
Fish oil seems to be even more effective when combined with exercise. In obese men and women, the effects of the addition of 6 g of fish oil daily (providing 360 mg EPA and 1,560 mg DHA) in combination with regular aerobic activity (walking 45 min three times per week at an intensity of 75% of age-predicted maximal heart rate) for 12 weeks, was investigated [32]. The results showed that the combination of fish oil and regular aerobic activity not only improved several risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but also significantly reduced body fat mass with 4.4 lb (2 kg) [32]. The finding that body weight and body fat percentage didn’t change in the placebo group (which was put on the same exercise program but received 6 g sunflower oil instead of the fish oil) underscores the efficacy of fish oil for fat loss.
It is interesting that the fat loss seen in the fish oil – exercise group occurred even though the subjects did not change their usual food habits; they just added the fish oil supplement and exercise program to their lifestyle. In this study, no fat loss was seen in fish oil only group (which didn’t exercise). This is probably due to the very low dose of EPA. Most studies showing that fish oil increases fat loss have use fish oil products that provide 1.5-2 times more EPA than DHA.
Fish oil combined with a calorie restricted diet
Fish oil supplementation can boost the effect of calorie restricted diets as well. This was found in a study that investigated the effect of including fish oil as part of an energy-restricted diet, on weight loss [33]. Young obese adults were put on a calorie restricted diet (30 % less calories than their usual intake, approximately a daily 600 calorie deficit) that was supplemented with 6 g fish oil providing 1,500 mg EPA + DHA, or placebo (sunflower oil capsules). It was found that the fish oil enriched diet resulted in 2.2 lb (1 kg) more weight loss and greater reductions in waist circumference after only 4 weeks, than the same diet without fish oil [33].
Fish oil combined with a calorie restricted diet and exercise
A study that tested the effect of adding 2,800 mg/day fish oil (EPA:DHA ratio 2:1) to a low-calorie diet combined with an exercise program, in severely obese women [34]. After only 3 weeks the fish oil group lost 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) more weight and slashed almost 1 inch (2.3 cm) more fat from their hips, than the non-supplemented group.
While body fat changes were not reported, the researchers did find a greater increase in blood beta-hydroxybutyrate (a ketone body) in the fish oil supplemented group compared with control group, and interpreted this as providing evidence of greater fat breakdown and utilization in the fish oil group [34]. These findings indicate that the addition of fish oil to a relatively short (3 week) weight loss program consisting of low-calorie diet and exercise, may increase fat burning and lead to greater improvement in body composition.
Perspective on fish oil and fat loss
In contrast to the positive studies, there are a few that didn’t show any fat loss with fish oil supplementation [35-38]. This could be due to differences in subject characteristics (age, initial body fat mass, baseline physical activity), methodological differences, and differences in fish oil preparations.
As outlined above, several high quality studies have shown that fish oil supplementation has a significant fat loss effect, in addition to all its other health promoting effects. The majority of evidence thus supports fish oil’s ability to shift fat metabolism away from storage towards burning of stored body fat.
It’s getting better – fat loss combined with lean mass (muscle) gain
While fat loss alone will improve body composition, when combined with muscle gain the body composition improvement will be even greater. Muscle and body composition is critical not only for physical performance and physical appearance, but also for health promotion.
One study gave healthy men and women (mean age 33 years), who were told to maintain their current food and exercise practices, 4 g fish oil providing 1,600 mg EPA and 800 mg DHA [39]. After 6 weeks, the placebo group, which was given 4 g of safflower oil, showed a tendency towards fat gain. In contrast, the fish oil group experienced a significant reduction in fat mass of 1.1 lb (0.5 kg) and increase in fat-free mass of 1.1 lb (0.5 kg), with no change in body weight.
A 1.1 lb reduction in fat mass combined with a 1.1 lb increase in fat-free mass, without changes in subjects’ typical food and exercise habits is pretty remarkable body composition improvement. It also underscores the importance of investigating fat mass and lean mass separately, since just measuring body weight will not tell anything about potential body composition improvements.
For more into on the effect of fish oil on muscle growth, see my other article “Fish Oil for Muscle Growth
Mechanism – how does it work?
In search for the mechanisms explaining how fish oil results in fat loss, it has been found that fish oil exerts favorable metabolic effects by modulating gene expression (which is the process by which the information encoded in a gene is converted into protein)[17, 40-53]. While we inherit our genes (a.k.a. blueprints) from our parents, what determines the way in which our blueprints are interpreted is largely dictated by a collection of environmental factors. The nutrients we consume are among the most influential of these environmental factors [54, 55]. One dietary constituent that has a strong influence on our genetic makeup is dietary fat [17, 40, 41, 43-46, 48-50, 52, 56]. Fatty acids from dietary fat not only influence hormonal signaling, but also have a very strong direct influence on the molecular events that govern gene expression.
More specifically, it has been shown that the fatty acids EPA and DHA from fish oil (by affecting gene expression) inhibit the activities of fat synthesizing (lipogenic) enzymes [57-64], while at the same time stimulating the activities of key enzymes that govern fat burning [17, 65-73].
Fish oil also has been shown to increase levels of adiponectin and decrease levels of cortisol [39, 74]. Adiponectin is an protein (produced by fat cells) that circulates in the blood [75]. It has many beneficial health effects, including improvement in insulin sensitivity and lowering of blood sugar (plasma glucose) and triglyceride levels [75, 76]. A reduction in adiponectin is associated with insulin resistance [75], and adiponectin levels are inversely related to the degree of adiposity (i.e. people with more body fat have lower levels of adiponectin) [76]. Adiponectin is also associated with steroid and thyroid hormones, cortisol (glucocorticoids) and nitric oxide, and it has anti-atherogenic and anti-inflammatory properties [76]. Thus, it is plausible that fish oil induces some of its effect by boosting adiponectin levels.
Thus it is likely that adiponectin may become a target for therapeutic interventions in the future.
It is also interesting that fish oil lowers cortisol. While the exact role of cortisol in obesity isn’t fully elucidated [77, 78], it is known that excessive cortisol levels may cause substantial fat mass gain [79, 80]. Thus, the reduction in cortisol levels after fish oil supplementation could contribute at least partly to the fat loss observed with fish oil supplementation.
Whether you are on a diet or not, adding a fish oil supplement to your regimen can effectively help you shed excess body fat. The additional calories from the fish oil will not get stored [81]; quite to the contrary, fish oil will help you get rid of calories you already have stored as body fat.
What’s interesting is that fish oil supplementation may reduce body fat and waist circumference despite unchanged exercise and/or other dietary practices. And the concurrent increase in lean body mass gives you another reason to add fish oil supplementation to your daily routine.
To maximize the fat loss and muscle growth effect of fish oil, aim for a daily fish oil dose that provides you with at least 1,900 mg (1.9 g) EPA and 1,500 mg (1.5) DHA. Ideally, strive to get at minimum about 4000 mg (4 g) EPA + DHA combined. As of this writing, there is not enough research data to make precise recommendations on any specific EPA-to-DHA ratio for fat loss.
Don’t miss my other article “Fish Oil for Muscle Growth
About Monica Mollica > www.Ageless.Fitness
Monica Mollica holds a Master degree in Nutrition from the University of Stockholm / Karolinska Institue, Sweden. She has also done PhD level course work at renowned Baylor University, TX.
Having lost her father in a lifestyle induced heart attack at an age of 48, she is specializing in cardiovascular health and primordial/primary prevention. She is a strong advocate of early intervention in adolescence and young adulthood, and the importance of lifestyle habits for health promotion at all ages.
Today, Monica is sharing her solid medical research insights and real-life hands on experience and passion by offering nutrition / supplementation / exercise / health consultation services, and working as a medical writer, specializing in health promotion, fitness and anti-aging.
She is currently in the process of writing a book on testosterone, covering health related issues for both men and women.
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  1. CCE...Minnesota 13 years ago

    Excellent article, Will…looking forward to the Fish Oil follow up…
    Thanks much…

    • Will Brink 13 years ago

      It is an excellent article, but I didn’t write it. Unless you think I’m an attractive muscular blond women named Monica 🙂

  2. Mark 13 years ago

    The “Shangri-La Diet” claims consuming bland calories can lower the appetite / set-point. Originally,the lightest olive oil was recommended. Recently, olive oil’s been replaced by flaxseed oil, (while holding one’s nose to achieve blandness), for the virtues of omega 3s . Perhaps this is an aspect of fish oil’s weight-loss properties.

  3. Pamela Mchugh 13 years ago

    Looking forward to the details as to the optimal ratio of DHA:EPA.

  4. Andy 13 years ago

    Fish Oil has so many benefits beyond fat loss that it could be considered a “Wonder Drug”. But be careful . Pharmacitical grade is the only way to go!

  5. Rodger 13 years ago

    What about Krill oil? Is it better than regular fish oil?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Krill oil is a phospholipid form of EPA and DHA (the fish oil fatty acids), while regular fish oil is a triglyceride (or ethyl ester) form of EPA and DHA.
      Krill oil confers more benefits to brain function, since it also provides phosphatidyl choline. In addition it has been shown that EPA and DHA bound to phospholipids, like those in krill oil, have better absorption and delivery to the brain, than regular fish oil. As an extra bonus, krill oil contains the powerful antioxidant carotenoid astaxanthin. Human studies have shown that krill oil may be superior to fish oil in reducing blood lipids and PMS complications. It probably also has more significant anti-inflammatory effects as well.
      Because EPA and DHA from krill oil have a higher bioavailability than fish oil, a lower dose than the one recommended in the article might achieve the same fat loss effect.

      • rodger 13 years ago

        Thanks Monica.

      • Wade V. 13 years ago

        That was my question also..would you care to venture about the dosage with the krill? ..I wish I had seen the posts before posting mine….thanks for the nice article Monica.

        • Monica 13 years ago

          A study that compared the bioavailability of krill oil versus fish oil showed that krill oil increases plasma levels of EPA and DHA to the same extent as fish oil, but at an EPA + DHA dose corresponding to about 60% of that in the fish oil (Ulven SM et al).
          If we apply this to the minimum recommended fat loss EPA + DHA dose of 2400 mg, you would need to take a krill dose providing at least 1440 mg EPA + DHA (0.6 x 2400mg). Most krill oil supplements contain around 240 mg EPA + DHA per 1 g softgel: this means you will need to take at least 6 softgels per day (1440 / 240). However, note that the krill oil content per softgel vary among brands, so you will have to read the label in order to figure out how many softgels you need to achieve the 1440 mg EPA + DHA dose.
          Hope this helps 🙂

          • Wade V. 13 years ago

            Thanks Monica exactly what we needed to know. Good to know that you have an unbiased website like Will’s to learn to live a better lifestyle….headed over there now.

        • JOE 13 years ago

          GREAT ARTICLE! I too would be interested to get a dosage recommendation of Krill Oil supplementation for body composition improvement.
          If it helps, 1 tablet of the krill oil I currently have contains:
          500mg Krill Oil
          200mg Phospholipids
          45mg EPA
          25mg DHA
          (Recommended on the label is 2 tablets once a day)
          Thanks for any help and again for your article!

          • Monica 13 years ago

            I’d recommend you switch to a krill oil supplement that provides more EPA and DHA per softgel, unless you’re willing to take 20 softgels per day (1440 / 70).

  6. Wade V. 13 years ago

    I am curious. Do you think that the more potent krill oil has these same beneficial attributes?

  7. DougM 13 years ago

    You hit another one out of the park Monica. Thank you. Will introduced me to EFAs, my BP seems lower for it, and it hasn’t hurt my fat loss progress. It looks like your minimum level of use, 2.4g total, is a bit more than what Will recommended (1.8g I think), so I’m interested in increasing my dose some. You state that more may be better. Is there an upper limit beyond which there’s a diminishing return? Also, I am greatly looking forward to your follow up articles. To jump the gun a bit, I use something called “Triple Strength” Fish Oil which is pretty good bang for buck, and requires a bit less number of capsules. One capsule contains 647mg EPA and 253mg DHA. Would this be considered a concentrate? Finally, are the ratios so important, so that if say I get my total 2400mg from three capsules, but one element like the DHA comes up short by 50mg, that its a big deal? Thanks again!

    • Monica 13 years ago

      There is an upper limit for everything, especially when it comes to nutrition and training. However, no systematic dose-response studies have been done on the fat loss effects of fish oil, so we will have to figure that out by trial-and-error until we have more scientific data available.
      In order for me to tell whether your fish oil supplement is a concentrate, I would need to know the total fish oil dose per capsule.
      The relative efficacy of EPA and DHA on body composition changes is a burning question that I will cover in more depth in an upcoming article. According to preliminary in vitro (test tube) data, it seems like EPA is more effective in term of anti-catabolic and anabolic effects, while DHA is more effective for fat loss and lipid metabolism. But because no head-on comparative studies have been done, we don’t know for sure yet. I tend to recommend a roughly equal dose of EPA and DHA; that is a 1:1 ratio. My reasoning behind this is that in our bodies DHA can be retro-converted more efficiently to EPA than EPA can be converted to DHA. But because of lack of scientific data, at this point it is too early to give any hard-fast ratio guidelines.
      So, to avoid the “paralysis-by-analysis” syndrome (I’m not pointing fingers cause I am guilty of that myself, lol), for now I’d say to primarily focus on getting the minimum total amount of EPA + DHA; after that you can can start to analyze and experiment with different ratios while waiting for more scientifically based data to get published 🙂

      • DougM 13 years ago

        The label doesn’t state it specifically as “total fish oil”, but gives “total fat” as 1.5g per capsule. They are the “big” capsules that seem pretty standard to me, if that helps. Total EPA+DHA=900mg per capsule. The ratio is pretty skewed, almost 3:1, so I’m a bit concerned about that distance from your 1:1 preference. Something I’ll consider more when shopping. Much to learn. Thanks again!

        • Monica 13 years ago

          Your supplement seem to be roughly 50% concentrated. I recommend fish oil concentrates that provide at least 80% EPA + DHA. There are several non-prescription forms of these on the market.
          Don’t freak out over the high EPA:DHA ratio in you supplement. Most fish oil supps (both regular and concentrates) contain way more EPA than DHA. What I do myself, and recommend others to do, is to add in algae oil to the mix. Algae oil is an excellent source of pure DHA (no EPA). So by combining fish oil with algae oil, you can manipulate the EPA:DHA ratio however you want and get a more even distribution between the two. Bingo! 🙂

          • DougM 13 years ago

            Bingo! 🙂

  8. Jostein Stokkan 13 years ago

    Very interesting information. 🙂
    Your comparison with krill oil gives a new diemsion and makes me wonder what you would say about oil from seal. I know this might be controversial and it is not for sale in the US, but for us living in the Nordic countries it is an alkternative for obtaining Omega3.
    How do you compare fish and krill oil with seal oil?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Seal oil is an interesting newcomer. From a nutritional perspective it is equivalent to fish oil and seems to confer the same health benefits. So if it is available in your area, I encourage you to use it.

  9. Steve 13 years ago

    Excellent article after looking at the fish oil brand I was taking I’d need to take many caps each day. A liquid form will be much cheaper and convenient so I can hardly wait for your follow on article.
    I have high blood pressure and I was taking a fish oil that was !00% wild Alaskan salmon which helped lower my BP then switched to krill oil (cheaper) and I have seen my readings creep back up. After reading your next article I’ll decide which type of oil to go with. I have not seen a liquid form of wild Alaskan salmon just caps.
    Are certain fish better then others when it comes to supplementing with them or is cod oil just as effective as salmon oil seems as per normal all the manufacturers hype there particular fish as better?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      What’s important is the concentration of EPA and DHA, and not whether it is in liquid or softgel (capsule) form, nor what fish it comes from. While cod liver oil contains a lot of vitamin D (which is good), it also contains a lot of vitamin A, which easily can reach toxic levels if you take a lot of it. So I don’t recommend cod liver oil as a major source of of EPA and DHA.
      Yes, fish oil is hypotensive (that is, it lowers blood pressure). The reason your BP went up after you switched to krill oil is probably that you took too little of it. Try to increase the dose and see what effect that will have on your BP.

      • Steve 13 years ago

        Yes I’m taking a lower dose of krill because of the potency, I have increased my dose starting today hopefully it will bounce back in a couple of weeks.

        • Monica 13 years ago

          Even though the EPA and DHA in krill oil has a higher bioavaliability, your low dose might still be too low. Figure out how much EPA and DHA you were getting from your previous fish oil supplement and get at least around 60% (or two thirds) of that dose from your krill oil supplement.

  10. Ken 13 years ago

    I would like to know the difference in in epa/dha in krill oil and if the dosage is the same for krill or less.I understand it to be different.
    Thanks for your time

    • Ken 13 years ago

      Thanks didn’t see the info above that’s what I was looking for ,Thank you

      • Ev Senter 13 years ago

        My Krill oil has EPA 240mg DHA 150mg from 1300mg of krill oil (1.3g). See True Health for that.
        My Fish Oil has EPA 700mg DHA 500mg from 2000mg of fish oil (2g). See for that.
        Ev Senter

  11. Nick 13 years ago

    Awesome article again, Monica.
    This was definitely an eye opener for me because I took Krill oil, yet I didn’t know that finer points about it.
    I saw a strong amount of research concluding it’s benefit as a supplement. I knew that the effects were positive toward fat burning, gaining LBM, . I’ll definitely strive to get a EPA:DHA ratio of 1:1. I’m currently using a supplement that has 420mg of omega three EFA’s per 2 capsules, 150mg EPA, and 90mg DHA.
    Thank you, I now have a clearer idea of what the ingredients MEAN and HOW they contribute positive effects as a fitness supplement.
    I have a few questions: as far as an EFA supplement for Omega three’s and Omega 6’s, what amounts would you recommend? Also, what constitutes an effective multi-vitamin?
    The only supplements I take are for EFA’s, EPA:DHA, and a Multi-Vitamin. They seem to be worth the money spent. Keep in mind, I always concentrate much more on the quality of my overall diet. The more organic the better, haha I do what I can while in college.
    I really appreciate all the research, I have so much more to learn and improve on 🙂

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Life is a journey of constant learning and improving for all of us 🙂
      I’m glad you find the article informative. When it comes to EFA supplementation, do NOT take extra omega-6! We already get more than enough of these in our diets. Fact is, most of us have a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats that is way too high (don’t confuse this ratio with the EPA to DHA ratio talked about above).
      So skip the EFA supplement with omega-6 and get a fish oil concentrate for the EPA and DHA.
      Regarding what to look for in a multi-vitamin/mineral; that’s a topic for a separate article and discussion.
      It is good that you focus on your overall diet quality. The purpose of supplements is just that; to supplement the background diet, not to replace.

  12. Ev Senter 13 years ago

    Thanks for this great article. One question and one possible correction results:
    a. I’m a 74 year old male in good health and doing a few minutes of HIIT most days (running at max speed on an elliptical trainer for 60 steps per leg, then repeat 1-2 times, with rest between) a few days a week. Other exercise such as push ups, sit ups, knee bends, 10 reps of 23 pound each lifting dumb bells while seated, same but lifting backward while standing, Yoga, going from one floor to another, some gardening, occasional walking for 15 minutes about 1-2 times per week, some snorkeling or boogie boarding a few times per month are done intermittently but not tracked. Your article says in older (47-51 years old) subjects there was no weight loss when no exercise was performed. Well, I normally can’t lose weight, but during a recent two week period with my kids visiting, my exercise and fun increased a lot, no weight lifting or push ups or knee bends were done, and I lost 5 pounds, while maintaining my daily intake of fish oil (EPA 1640, DHA 1150). That weight loss stayed off (months now). So here is the question:
    Q: Shall I conclude that if I want to lose more weight I likely need only to exercise more? And since what exercise increased when the weight loss occurred was just snorkeling and general moving around but to a greater extent than without the kids being here, and no weight lifting, shall I just increase my exercise in random ways such as longer walks, longer snorkels, and generally spend more time being active?
    b. Possible correction to your article: It appears that the ratio of EPA to DHA got reversed (or even worse, a digit completely left out) where you said: “Recently, more studies have been published on the topic. In overweight men and women, the effects of the addition of 6 g of fish oil daily (corresponding to 360 mg EPA and 1560 mg DHA)…”

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Actually, the numbers are correct: in that particular study, a high DHA – low EPA fish oil was used.
      Regarding exercising, yes, more exercise will make you loose more fat (everything else being equal). And exercise variety is always a good thing. And yes, spontaneous physical activity and the so called NEAT (Non-Exercise Physical Activity) is as important as the typical structured exercise, commonly referred to as training.

      • Ev Senter 13 years ago

        Awesome set of responses to everybody’s questions, including mine! Thanks so much. I don’t know how much difference the “fun” makes, but I’m going to try to maximize that, too.

        • Monica 13 years ago

          My pleasure 🙂
          Yes, “fun” is an essential element in life that definitely makes the process of achieving our goals more rich and enjoyable. Go for it! 🙂

  13. Matthew 13 years ago

    That’s a super helpful artical Monica, I’m also looking forward to the other articals. Thanks!

    • Monica 13 years ago

      I am very glad to hear that 🙂

  14. yuganter 13 years ago

    you seems to me muscular and your mid area of abdomen seems to me pretty attractive.

  15. Etienne Juneau 13 years ago

    Hi Monica,
    Nice article.
    Well researched, clearly written.
    Looking forward for your next about fish oil supplements.

  16. Alex 13 years ago

    What about enteric coated fish oil? It obviously eliminates the “fish burps”, but releasing fish oil in small intestine instead of stomach is more or less effective and to what degree?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      I’d go with the regular caps. Take them before your meal to reduce the fishy burping. You can also try a flavored fish oil version.

  17. Health Fitness Franchise 13 years ago

    Hi Monica Mollica,
    Mind Blowing work, Excellent Work. I am really thankful to my bottom of heart. Nice Blog Post Done

  18. Alex 13 years ago

    What a great article, Monica is certainly a awesome addition to your allready fabulous site, keep it up !!

    • Alex 13 years ago

      Just one question, in your oppinion what are the best times to take fish oil, morning, day or night ?

      • Monica 13 years ago

        I’d recommend you spread out your daily fish oil or krill oil dose evenly over the day, and take it in conjunction with meals.

        • Alex 13 years ago

          Seems like i was doin it right then.. Thx a lot for the help Monica 😉

  19. Paul 13 years ago

    I have been taking roughly 1200 epa and 600 epa a day for about 3-4 wks. I am almost 40 and I swear my skin feels like it did when I was 20,I am finding myself having to shave more often…perhaps fish oil has a profound effec on hormone regulation on me? Also this kicks ass the most,I had a metal implant place in my shoulder in 3/10/2010 and in the last few wks my shoulder feel like a million bucks even though it only cost me 50k lololol. I havent had to take a NSAID in like 2 wks. I am now upping my dose to 2400 epa and 1600 dha. Any thoughts comments? ty

    • Monica 13 years ago

      That’s great news; thanks for sharing.
      Both myself and my friends noticed beneficial effects on the skin after having started high dose fish oil. And studies indicate that fish oil might prevent sun burns. However, ( have no explanation for your apparent need to shave more frequently. I’m glad the it has made your shoulder better; fish oil, especially EPA is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Try the higher dose and see if provides you any further benefits. Keep us posted 🙂

      • Paul 13 years ago

        I wondering if the shaving had to do with prostiglandin regulation related to hormones?

        • Monica 13 years ago

          I have not seen any data on that.

  20. Emma Hickey 13 years ago

    I found this useful and very informative, I wanted to ask you – A friend who is a gym owner and bodybuilder where i train has recommended I take 4 Softgels daily of Fish Oil Concentrate- which contains 180mg EPA and 120mg DHA. From reading your articles would this be enough or too little? The product I bought is the one he suggested ‘Solgar’ is the maunfacturer…. I weigh 60kgs if that makes any difference to how much I should be taking. Thanks so much for your help and gotta say Wow on your physique – Impressive! Takes a hell of alot to achieve…. Emma x

    • Emma Hickey 13 years ago

      Oh they are 1000mg Fish Oil Concentrate… Thanks

      • Monica 13 years ago

        Thanks for the compliment. I’m glad you find my article informative and useful 🙂
        What you got is not a concentrate, it is a “regular” fish oil supplement containing on 30% EPA+DHA. A fish oil concentrate contains at least 70% EPA+DHA.
        4 caps of your fish oil provides only 1200mg EPA+DHA. If you want to stick with that particular brand, I’d recommend you take at least 8 caps daily (2400 mg EPA+DHA). But I would still recommend you to get a fish oil concentrate.

        • Emma Hickey 13 years ago

          Ok thanks for your reply. Can you recommend a brand that would be 70% or more in the fish oil concentrate? Happy to purchase online as I live in Jersey, Channel Islands which is a small Island off the coast of France and we do not very many Health Food providers LOL…. Thanks again.

          • Monica 13 years ago

            You’re welcome.
            While I cannot give specific product recommendations here, please join the BodyBuildingRevealed or FatLossRevealed member forums and I will be happy to give you specific product recommendations there.

          • DougM 13 years ago

            Hi Monica,
            Where do I find you in BBT or FLR? I left a new comment in a thread I started in BBR long ago, called “Flax Oil, Fish Oil … Where’s the Beef?”. I haven’t paid much attention over there lately, but intend to do so more often now. I’d be interested in your recommendations also, for a high concentrate fish oil. See ya in the Brink Zone!
            – D

  21. DougM 13 years ago

    ZITS!!! Doubled my intake of fish oil this last week, and the other day I woke to find four real shiners on my nose. I’ve always had pretty oily skin, which for the most part is a good thing. So I’m not in need of that benefit. Love the youthful benefits of fish oil, but don’t want to go back to being 14 again! So, am I correct to suspect that extra oily skin could be a side effect of high dose fish oil intake? And could the use of a concentrated version mitigate this effect?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Aracidonic acid (ARA), and omega-6 fatty acid, can cause oily skin, but I have never heard anybody taking high dose fish oil experience this. If could be because your supplement (not being a concentrate) contains a significant amount of ARA (or any other omega-6 fatty that might be converted to ARA). So yes, try a more concentrated fish oil version and see if it helps.

      • DougM 13 years ago

        It seems to have been a one day event, perhaps related to mass quantities of pork ribs and cheesy resaurant food consumed recently beforehand. But it coincided with my fish oil increase, so the concern. Better now, and hopefully getting better in other way with more of this stuff.

        • Greg 13 years ago

          Should fish oil be taking with a meal or without a meal, would taking It with a meal make It less effective?

  22. Monica 13 years ago

    For everybody who requested specific product recommendations on good fish oil concentrates, I just posted my favorites, with links, in the BodyBuildingRevealed member forum. I will answer further product related questions there.

  23. Pamela Mchugh 13 years ago

    I bought Carlson’s liquid fish oil. According to the recommendations here I should take 3 tsp/daily. How important is it to take with meals? And is it possibly to take all at once?

    • Monica 13 years ago

      Not important. When and how you take your fish oil doesn’t matter (as long as you don’t heat it up). It’s more a matter of practicality and personal preference. While it is a good idea to spread out your fish oil intake evenly over the day, if you cannot do so, take it when you can. The important thing is that you consume enough of it, in one way or the other. While fish oil should not be used in cooking, it is ok to pour it over a warm dish. Yes, you can take it all at once, but might risk getting fishy burps if you take too much in one sitting.

      • Pamela Mchugh 13 years ago

        Thank you Monica for such a quick reply! And thanks for the info, it’s very helpful :). It’s good to know that if I am unable to take 3 servings on any particular day, it’s ok to take it all at once.

        • Monica 13 years ago

          You’re welcome 🙂
          With fish oil it’s more important to ensure you get it in, rather than worry about how to divide the dose.

  24. Benefits of HGH Supplements - Reverse the effects of aging with HGH Releasers! 13 years ago

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  25. Just Cause 2 Trainer 13 years ago

    I do agree with all of the concepts you have presented to your post. They are really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very brief for beginners. Could you please prolong them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  26. Maggie 13 years ago

    Thanks for the article, Monica — this is great information! I’m curious: If I am taking 1 teaspoon of Udo’s Choice 3-6-9 blend oil (2 g ALA) daily, would you recommend that I take the same dose of concentrated fish oil recommended above (1600 to 2400 mg EPA and 800 to 1600 mg DHA) in addition to the Udo’s Choice oil? Does ALA substitute for EPA/DHA, or is it important to supplement with both of them?

    • Monica Mollica 13 years ago

      Yes, because the conversion of ALA to EPA and especially DHA is very low and inefficient. Therefore, one shouldn’t count ALA intake towards the EPA + DHA dosage recommendation.
      I don’t think there is any good reason to supplement with n-9 (monounsaturated) or n-6 fats. We easily get those via regular foods, and most people consume way too much n-6 anyway. You will be better off spending your money on a high quality fish oil concentrate.

      • Maggie 13 years ago

        Okay, thanks so much for the advice & quick reply!

  27. Bri 13 years ago

    So I’m really interested in trying this. I’m 23 and really trying to lose weight and despite diet and exercise nothing seems to be working. Is there a particular type of exercise I could do alongside the supplement to obtain optimal results?

    • Bri 13 years ago

      Also, I bought a bottle of Nature’s Bounty Fish oil (700 EPA/280 DHA) If I took 4 a day my EPA intake would be 2800 while the DHA intake would only be 1120 would this imbalance affect my results?

      • DougM 13 years ago

        Hi Bri,
        Monica answered the same question I asked, above. I am adding Algae oil, which is pure DHA to the mix, to bring the ratio into balance. She suggests that one may want to lean more toward DHA for fat loss, and more to EPA for muscle gain/retention. About right, Monica?

        • Monica 13 years ago

          Yes, that’s a good way or summarizing it 🙂
          Please note that the evidence supporting EPA for muscle gain/retention is stronger than the evidence supporting DHA for fat loss. It seems like for fat loss both EPA and DHA are important.
          The reason I am a recommending a roughly even ratio of EPA to DHA, is that DHA is enriched in the brain and CNS, and is also retro-converted to EPA in the body.

      • Monica 13 years ago

        Maybe…I recommend a roughly 1:1 ratio of EPA and DHA. In the BBR member forum I have given out specific product recommendations and advice on how to achieve a more even ratio of EPA and DHA.
        If you want to learn more about effective training to reach your goal, when you join the member forum you will get the ebook Bodybuilding Revealed (670 pages), which (together with the forum) will answer all your questions in detail 🙂

  28. img 13 years ago

    Ok, fine, how do we determine the optimum amount of fish oil to take? 4gr daily for everyone? 6gr daily for everyone? Does it depend on height, weight, age, etc? Would be useful to know.

    • Monica Mollica 13 years ago

      There are no dose-response studies on fish oil’s fat loss or muscle anabolic effects (see my other article here on BZ for info on fish oil induce muscle anabolic effects). A good guideline is to start with the dosages used in the cited studies. Then in you want you can titrate (modify) the dose based on the response you get. It obviously makes sense that people who are big would need more than smaller folks. But other factors need to be taken into consideration as well (for ex physical activity level and energy requirements etc). So for now, we all have to go by trial-and-error to find the dose that works best for us.

  29. Gillian 12 years ago

    This is a very informative and well-researched article. What about plant-based omega supplements. Are they not as effective?

  30. Richard Adams 12 years ago

    Hi Monica and thank you for a well researched and eloquently written article. You have convinced me on the benefits of fish oil, however as a vegetarian (I eat eggs and dairy but no other animal products) I wonder if there is any non-animal substitute you could recommend to me that might do the trick? I was using cold pressed linseed oil for a while but I stopped taking it as I didn’t notice any benefits.

    • Monica 12 years ago

      I’m glad I convinced you. Yes, there actually are vegetarian alternatives to both DHA and EPA.
      A vegetarian DHA source is algae oil (which comes in softgels just like fish oil), which is easy to find (just do a google search).
      A vegetarian EPA source is stearidonic acid (SDA), which is a pro-EPA omega-3 fatty acid. SDA is currently being studied for incorporation into the food chain as a vegetarian EPA alternative. The relative efficiency of SDA to increase EPA in tissue membranes is lower than EPA though. You will have to take almost 2 g SDA to get the same effect as 0.5 g EPA.
      If you are looking for the fish oil induced fat loss effect, you need about 1600 mg EPA. This would require about 6 g SDA. I’ve seen a few SDA supplements, but they aren’t concentrated, which means you would have to take a whole bunch to get the effecitve EPA equivalent dose.

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