Omega-3 supplementation and body weight in healthy young women

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Objective: The purpose of this randomized parallel arm trial was to demonstrate the effects of daily fish oil supplementation (600mg per day for eight weeks) on body composition and body

Objective: The purpose of this randomized parallel arm trial was to demonstrate the effects of daily fish oil supplementation (600mg per day for eight weeks) on body composition and body mass in young healthy women, aged 18-38, at a large southwestern university. Design: 26 non-obese (mean BMI 23.7±0.6 kg/m2), healthy women (18-38y; mean, 23.5±1.1 y) from a southwestern Arizona university campus community completed the study. Subjects were healthy, non-smokers, consuming less than 3.5 oz of fish per week according to self-report. Participants were randomized to one of two groups: FISH (600 mg omega-3 fatty acids provided in one gel capsule per day), or CON (1000 mg coconut oil placebo provided in one gel capsule per day). Body weight, BMI, and percent body fat were measured using a stadiometer and bioelectrical impedance scale at the screening visit and intervention weeks 1, 4, and 8. 24-hour dietary recalls were also performed at weeks 1 and 8. Results: 8 weeks of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation did not significantly alter body weight (p=0.830), BMI (p=1.00), or body fat percentage (p=0.600) as compared to placebo. Although not statistically significant, 24-hour dietary recalls performed at the beginning and end of the intervention revealed a trend towards increased caloric intake in the FISH group and decreased caloric intake in the CON group throughout the course of the study (p=0.069). If maintained, this difference in caloric intake could have physiological relevance. Conclusions: Omega-3 fatty acids do not significantly alter body weight or body composition in healthy young females. These findings do not refute the current recommendations for Americans to consume at least 8 oz of omega-3-rich seafood per week, supplying 250 mg EPA and DHA per day. More research is needed to investigate the potential for omega-3 fatty acids to modulate daily caloric intake.