Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to a number of health benefits ranging from improved cholesterol to preserving brain function as we age. As it pertains to weight loss, one study showed that the consumption of omega-3s increased fat burning preferentially to carbohydrate burning. This suggests a positive impact to body composition through the reduction of fat stores.
As is the case with most nutritional ingredients, scientists don’t really understand how they exactly work. The human body is an extremely complex machine, and it can be very difficult to isolate how things work.
A recent study seems to rule out one possible mechanism for omega-3s. It was thought that omega-3 might improve how well the heart relaxes. In scientific terms, this is called diastolic pressure. Diastolic is the lower number of a blood pressure reading. The heart loses the ability to relax fully as it ages. In this small study, researchers took pictures of people’s hearts before and after 12 weeks of supplementation with omega-3s. The pictures did not show any improvement in function. While this may rule out one possible explanation of how omega-3s work, it should and does not negate the positive effects seen in other studies. It simply means that scientists still haven’t figured it out.
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