Does omega-3 intake influence resting metabolic rate?


Omega-3 fatty acids are known to provide benefits for cardiovascular and immune health, and cognitive function. The intake of omega-3 may also impact on metabolism at rest and during exercise. This has major implications for weight management as an increased metabolic rate means that more energy (or calories) is burnt whilst we rest.

Research overview

A study has investigated the effects of high omega-3 consumption (3.0 g/day of EPA and DHA) or an olive oil control for 12 weeks.

Supplementation with omega-3 lead to small increases in resting metabolic rate in comparison to olive oil however no other metabolic measures were affected.

Take home message

This study provides evidence that a high intake of omega-3 leads to a small increase in resting metabolic rate however must be noted that this intake is three times the recommended intake of omega-3. With only modest increases in metabolism noted with such high intakes, omega-3 may not be the most efficacious nutritional supplement for weight loss purposes however its intake is still highly advisable to support overall health. Excellent dietary sources of omega-3 include oily fish, such as tuna, mackerel and sardines, seeds, nuts, soybeans and tofu.