Could Fish Oil Supplements Help Obese Patients Lose Weight?


More than one-third of US adults are obese, according to the CDC.

More than one-third of US adults are obese, according to the CDC.

Obese patients who are otherwise healthy are still at risk for impaired immune function, which can lead to increased risk of infection.

New research suggests that chronic inflammation can make it difficult for certain patients to lose weight with lifestyle modifications. In fact, inflammation may lead to weight gain and insulin resistance. As a result, reducing inflammation may make it easier for patients to lose weight.

A team of researchers recently investigated how a daily flavonoid-fish oil supplement could potentially reduce inflammation and long-term complications in overweight and obese female patients.

In the study, which was published in Nutrients, blood samples were tested for cytokines, C-reactive protein (CRP), F2-isoprostanes, and whole-blood-derived mRNA. Each of these categories represent a way to measure inflammation and immune function.

  • Cytokines are released by immune cells to regulate the maturation, growth, and responsiveness of certain types of cells
  • CRP is a plasma protein that is a nonspecific marker of inflammation
  • F2-isoprostanes are peroxidized polyunsaturated fatty acids that act as inflammatory mediators
  • Whole-blood-derived mRNA is a measure of the DNA transcription activity within the blood cells

Patients received either placebo or a mixed flavonoid-fish oil supplement that contained 1000 mg quercetin, 400 mg isoquercetin, 120 mg epigallocatechin from green tea extract, 1000 mg vitamin C, 40 mg niacinamide, 800 g folic acid, and 400 mg omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid consisting of 220 mg eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 180 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil.

After 10 weeks, patients showed increases in plasma quercetin, EPA, DHA, and docosapentaenoic acid. The researchers also found an antiviral and inflammation whole-blood transcriptomic response in overweight women.

Patients didn’t experience changes in CRP, F2-isoprostanes, cytokines, blood lipids, and body weight.

These results suggest that the supplementation improved patients’ viral defense and reduced leukocyte trafficking, which is part of the inflammatory response. The researchers considered this intervention promising.

However, they were unable to observe long-term effects of the supplementation in this short study. Therefore, they recommended long-term studies that include various doses and added lifestyle modifications.

Future research may also determine the effect on traditional inflammation biomarkers like CRP and F2-isoprostanes.

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