When taken preventatively, omega-3s may help reverse the negative effects of a high fat diet, according to a new rodent study.
Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil gave mice a daily dose of fish oil four weeks prior to feeding them a high-fat diet. They fed the rodents both the omegas and the fatty diet for a month. Then they analyzed their body fat samples and compared them to mice on a high-fat diet that had not received fish oil. They looked at factors that affect insulin resistance, metabolism and fat deposits—all factors that can be caused by a fatty diet. The risks were reduced among the mice who received the daily omega-3s, according to the study results, which were published in the Journal of Physiology.
"Our research suggests that fish oil supplements may be used in addition to other strategies as a preventative measure for insulin resistance and obesity," Maria Isabel Alonso-Vale, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the Federal University of São Paulo and lead investigator of the study, said in a statement. She said that more research needs to be conducted to determine whether the effects translate to people.
This is not the first study to suggest that omegas can help offset the damaged from an unhealthy Western diet. Data from more than 180 research papers suggests fish oils could minimize the effects that junk food can have on the brain, a recent review by researchers at the University of Liverpool has shown.