Effects of supplemental fish oil on resting metabolic rate, body composition, and salivary cortisol in healthy adults
Department of Health Sciences, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg Pennsylvania, USA
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:31 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-31Published: 8 October 2010
To determine the effects of supplemental fish oil (FO) on resting metabolic rate (RMR), body composition, and cortisol production in healthy adults.
A total of 44 men and women (34 ± 13y, mean+SD) participated in the study. All testing was performed first thing in the morning following an overnight fast. Baseline measurements of RMR were measured using indirect calorimetry using a facemask, and body composition was measured using air displacement plethysmography. Saliva was collected via passive drool and analyzed for cortisol concentration using ELISA. Following baseline testing, subjects were randomly assigned in a double blind manner to one of two groups: 4 g/d of Safflower Oil (SO); or 4 g/d of FO supplying 1,600 mg/d eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 800 mg/d docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). All tests were repeated following 6 wk of treatment. Pre to post differences were analyzed using a treatment X time repeated measures ANOVA, and correlations were analyzed using Pearson's r.
Compared to the SO group, there was a significant increase in fat free mass following treatment with FO (FO = +0.5 ± 0.5 kg, SO = -0.1 ± 1.2 kg, p = 0.03), a significant reduction in fat mass (FO = -0.5 ± 1.3 kg, SO = +0.2 ± 1.2 kg, p = 0.04), and a tendency for a decrease in body fat percentage (FO = -0.4 ± 1.3% body fat, SO = +0. 3 ± 1.5% body fat, p = 0.08). No significant differences were observed for body mass (FO = 0.0 ± 0.9 kg, SO = +0.2 ± 0.8 kg), RMR (FO = +17 ± 260 kcal, SO = -62 ± 184 kcal) or respiratory exchange ratio (FO = -0.02 ± 0.09, SO = +0.02 ± 0.05). There was a tendency for salivary cortisol to decrease in the FO group (FO = -0.064 ± 0.142 μg/dL, SO = +0.016 ± 0.272 μg/dL, p = 0.11). There was a significant correlation in the FO group between change in cortisol and change in fat free mass (r = -0.504, p = 0.02) and fat mass (r = 0.661, p = 0.001).
6 wk of supplementation with FO significantly increased lean mass and decreased fat mass. These changes were significantly correlated with a reduction in salivary cortisol following FO treatment.