There are dozens of reasons to take fish oil, from improved bone health to reduced risk of a host of diseases, and it will also make you thinner. “Unless you already eat a lot of oily fish, you can benefit from supplementing with fish oil to reduce body fat and inflammation,” says strength and conditioning coach Joseph Lightfoot. “It will also keep your levels of feelgood hormones on an even keel”, which will reduce the risk of you hitting the office biscuit tin.

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What is it?

Oil. From fish. More specifically, it’s a supplement rich in omega 3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA, which are actually taken from algae. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid, which means we can’t synthesise it so we have to consume it via diet. Omega 3s are important in everything from cardiovascular function to preventing neurodegenerative decline in old age.

Why do I need it?

  1. Boost Your Metabolism: Omega 3 intake is important for normal metabolic function, according to the British Medical Journal. This creates the foundation for maintaining a healthy weight and looking and feeling healthy and energised.
  2. Train Your Brain: Supplementing omega 3 fish oil helped study subjects’ ability to form memories, as well as improved their attention span and their reaction time, according to results published in the European Journal Of Clinical Investigation.
  3. Lose Fat Faster: Increasing your omega 3 intake can help you get a lean physique by improving your insulin sensitivity so your body becomes more efficient at burning fat, according to a study in the Journal Of Physiological Research.

Is there a difference between brands?

Yes, a massive difference. Avoid cod liver oil and those containing trans fats, which aren’t nearly as beneficial. Choose a brand with a good ratio of omega 3 to omega 6; you may also want to get a brand that uses small fish (herring and mackerel), which contain fewer environmental toxins such as mercury. If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of such supplements, you can also choose one that uses “fish discards” and therefore doesn’t lead directly to the depletion of fish stocks.

How do I take it?

With food, if you’d rather avoid fishy burps. Some sources claim oil is “better” than tablets, although it can be less pleasant to take. Research is inconclusive, however, so for convenience you should just invest in good-quality tablets.

The bottom line

If you only take one supplement, this should be it: invest in a good pill and take it daily.

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