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The University of Southampton

Could fish oil help overweight people be healthier?

Published: 31 May 2013

Fish oils could have beneficial effect on the body of people who are overweight or who eat a diet with a high fat content.

Fish oils – called Omega 3 – are an anti-inflammatory and are commonly taken for joint pain.

They are being used by scientists at the University of Southampton to see if they are able to reduce the inflammatory response in the body caused by eating a fatty meal.

The new study, led by Dr Caroline Childs and Professor Philip Calder, is currently recruiting patients from the south.

Dr Childs explains: “Every time you eat, there is an inflammatory reaction in the body which causes the body stress. The higher the fat content the more stress for the body. Fat tissues also release inflammatory signals into the blood stream which puts the body at greater risk of cardiovascular disease or Type 2 Diabetes.

Fish oils could have beneficial effect on the body of people who are overweight
Study assessing fish oils

“We want to establish the effects of omega-3s in lean and overweight people and to see its impact on the inflammatory response.”

During the study participants will be provided with a high-fat breakfast; blood samples will be taken and tested during the following six hours to assess how they respond. Participants will be asked to either take fish oil capsules in the three months leading up to the breakfast or for the first time with the breakfast or a placebo. Small samples of fat will also be taken from volunteers, to look directly at whether taking fish oil long term affects how fat tissue looks and behaves.

Researchers are now recruiting healthy, overweight volunteers. Participants are required to have a BMI of between 30 and 40 and can be aged between 18 and 65 years old, although researchers are particularly keen for young people to take part.

People interested in taking part should call Dr Caroline Childs on 023 80796925 or email

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