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Supplementation with Fatty Acids May Enhance Weight Loss

While adopting a reduced calorie diet is a good approach to weight loss, there are also supplements that studies have found further enhance the weight loss process.  A recent study suggests that alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) supplements, taken with and without EPA fatty acid, may help obese and overweight women who are following a reduced calorie diet to lose weight.

Participants in the study included 97 overweight or obese women who followed a reduced calorie diet. Additionally, they were split into four treatments:

    • control group taking no supplements;

    • 1.3 grams of EPA daily;

    • 0.3 grams of ALA daily;

    • EPA and ALA.

The study period lasted for ten weeks and 77 women completed the study.

At the conclusion of the study, the control group lost an average of 11.7 lbs following just the reduced calorie diet. The EPA-only group lost an average 11.9 lbs. The ALA-only group lost an average 15.4 lbs, while the EPA plus ALA group lost an average 14.3 lbs.

The control and ALA-only group also showed lower levels of leptin. However, when EPA was combined with ALA, the leptin levels returned to normal. Leptin is the satiety hormone that tells the body when it is full.  It tends to decrease during weight loss.

Researchers from the University of Navarra conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on December 31, 2014, in the journal Obesity.

Alpha-lipoic acid is an antioxidant that previous studies have linked with improvements in symptoms of diabetes. It can be found in yeast, liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes

There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that come from fish: EPA and DHA. This study looked specifically at EPA. Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s.

If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a daily high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.

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