Getty Images
Getty Images

More research is surfacing that confirms the benefits of fish oil, this time in how it affects the brain rather than the waistline.


Conducted by scientists at Italy’s University of Naples Federico II and published in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, the study aimed to determine the differences in brain function between rats fed fish oil along with other unsaturated fats and rats fed a similarly high-fat diet but made up of only saturated fats. The saturated fats seemed to affect the hypothalamus, which regulates hunger in the brain—the rats living on a diet of saturated fats were less able to regulate the amount they ate. The rats eating unsaturated fats from fish, avocados and nuts had no change to their brain function.


Humans are not rats, but we already know that saturated fats—found in dairy as well as in much prepared food and fast food—can cause inflammation and fatigue and increase the risk for cardiac disease, while we know that eating fish is generally good for the body. Lisa Osowski, a dietitian at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Illinois, lists fish oil’s many benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Supports brain and eye health
  • Protects cardiovascular health
  • Aids in weight loss and exercise recovery
  • Treats depression

Since fish oil can interfere with other medications, Osowski recommends informing your doctor if you’re taking fish oil supplements. 


For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.

Read more about