A surplus of belly fat — known as central obesity — isn’t just an inconvenience when shopping for a new pair of jeans, but is a hallmark feature of something a lot more serious. You see, waist circumference not only predicts your risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes but is a feature of Metabolic Syndrome.
Metabolic Syndrome is a health condition associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and stroke. In addition to the presence of belly fat, the other features of Metabolic Syndrome include:
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- High Blood Sugar
- Increased or High Levels of Triglycerides
- Decreased or Low Levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (“Good” Cholesterol)
The problem with extra belly fat is that what starts as an extra inch or two, can suddenly snowball into a lot more, and quite quickly. That’s because weight gain in this central area of the body is heavily influenced by many factors, including daily stress levels, intake of processed foods and carbohydrates, and a lack of exercise.
Thankfully, including a quality omega-3 supplement as part of your daily regimen can get you on your way to a trimmer waist in no time! You see, omega-3 fatty acids have not only been correlated with the prevention of obesity, but they also help such normalize the levels of lipids (fat) in your blood, regulate chemicals called adipokines that influence your body weight, make your body cells sensitive to insulin, and alleviate inflammation. As a bonus, omega-3s also have a positive effect on many of the other risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. So by supplementing with omega-3s, you can improve your overall metabolic health in one fell swoop.
Omega-3s Can Help Dampen the Reward Associated with Food
Ever find yourself at the bottom of a bag of chips, or a tub of ice cream and wonder how you got there? Unfortunately, eating doesn’t just satisfy hunger but is something you might find yourself doing when you're upset, worn out, or even bored. Studies show that supplementing with Omega-3 EPA and DHA allow these fatty acids to work their magic on specific brain pathways to reduce the reward linked to food. In turn, this can reduce your overall appetite and food intake, as well as curb unhealthy cravings, which can help you lose weight, including belly fat.
Curb Carb Cravings With Omega-3s
If you find yourself thinking about carbohydrates 24/7, you aren’t losing your mind. You’re starving. Well, your cells are, or at least that’s what they “think”. The bottom line is that carb cravings might signify that your body is having a bit of an issue maintaining stable blood sugar levels, which is linked to a condition called insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is the term for what which happens when your body's cells ignore signaling from insulin which is telling them to let glucose in for energy. Instead, you will crave carbohydrates for energy. Belly fat not only contributes to insulin resistance, but both of these are part of the metabolic syndrome risk-factor cluster; with insulin resistance being the hallmark feature of Metabolic Syndrome.
Luckily, omega-3s help make those very same cells more sensitive to the signaling from insulin. Insulin can then do its job by pushing the glucose (sugar) from your blood into your body's cells, where it belongs. This keeps the sugar levels in your blood within the healthy range.
Omega-3s Influence What Your Fat Cells “Say” to Your Body
An increased level of fat in your body alters many things, including the production and release of chemicals called Adipokines. Your adipose tissue releases these chemicals messengers, which regulate several aspects of your physiology, including your metabolism and appetite. Two major adipokines that influence your weight are adiponectin and leptin. While adiponectin influences insulin sensitivity and tissue inflammation, leptin, known as the “satiation” hormone, sends signals to your brain about how much food should or shouldn’t be consumed for energy purposes. When you have a surplus of belly fat, the release of inflammatory chemicals increases, while the production of adiponectin becomes reduced. Luckily, omega-3s alter levels of both adiponectin and leptin.
Omega-3s May Rev Up Your Metabolism
Many things cause our metabolism to slow, and one of the biggest culprits is age. Generally, as you age, you will experience a decrease in muscle mass and metabolic rate, alongside an increase in fat mass. Later on, these types of changes may predispose you to develop the chronic diseases associated with aging, including the features of Metabolic Syndrome. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce these changes. In fact, after just a 12-week long omega-3 supplement intervention, study participants had a measurable increase in resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure during exercise, the rate of fat oxidation during rest and exercise, and an increase in lean body mass!
Omega-3s Can Reduce Chronic Inflammation
In addition to aging, chronic low-grade inflammation also plays a significant role in the onset and severity of many chronic diseases, including Metabolic Syndrome. Unfortunately, excess fat around your waistline churns out pro-inflammatory molecules that kick off silent and widespread inflammatory processes in your body. Luckily, omega-3 fatty acids can dampen the inflammation of fat cells. They do this directly by transforming into specialized compounds that will resolve inflammation and indirectly by boosting levels of adiponectin in your bloodstream. By preventing or reversing the inflammatory changes in fat cells, losing belly fat becomes a lot easier!
Increase Your Omega-3 Intake and Decrease Your Waistline Now!
As you can see, omega-3 fatty acids can help you prevent and reverse weight gain in several different ways. From modulating chemical messengers to using their anti-inflammatory properties to fight the inflammation found in fat cells, these essential fatty acids pack a mean punch. Keeping your metabolic health on track is not only vital for your weight, but for the health of your heart, brain, and blood vessels. So, if you are concerned that you are holding onto too much belly fat, it is vital to take charge of your metabolic health by including a high-quality omega-3 supplement in your daily regimen!