You may want to start drinking that post-workout protein shake with some fish oil, according to a new study.
Australian researchers conducted a study of overweight adults and found that combining exercise with fish oil supplements effectively reduced body fat and improved cholesterol levels and blood vessel function.
The adults taking fish oil saw the levels of “good” HDL cholesterol in their body increase, and unhealthy blood fat known as triglycerides significantly decrease. In addition, those who combined exercise and fish oil saw a decrease in body fat as well.
The results suggest that combining fish oil and exercise may improve the overall cardiovascular health of overweight adults.
There have been a number of studies on omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, indicating that they may help the heart by lowering blood pressure and triglycerides, reducing blood clot risk, and improving the function of blood vessels.
Previous studies have also suggested that fish oil can alter your metabolism to reduce body fat, but the research on humans for this affect has brought mixed findings.
The exercise and fish oil study was reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition by Peter R.C. Howe and colleagues at the University of South Australia in Adelaide.
Researchers randomly divided a group of 75 overweight adults into four groups: one took 6 grams of fish oil each day, one consumed fish oil and then walked for 45 minutes three days/week, one took pills containing sunflower oil, and the last group combined sunflower oil and walking.
After 12 weeks, results showed that those taking fish oil had greater improvements in their blood fats and blood vessel function than those who consumed sunflower oil.
Furthermore, those who combined fish oil and exercise had reduced body fat.
“Increasing intake of (omega-3 fatty acids) could be a useful adjunct to exercise programs aimed at improving body composition and decreasing cardiovascular disease risk,” Howe and his colleagues write.
Researchers also warn that, as the first clinical trial looking at the cardiovascular and weight benefits of combining fish oil with exercise, more research is required to investigate the long-term effects.
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