Fish oil, restricted diet fight metabolic syndrome: Herbalife

A fish made up of Omega-3 pills. Photo: ST

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Herbalife, a global nutrition company, released data from a clinical study it conducted in partnership with Taipei Medical University, which showed that a combination of meal replacement, fish oil and a calorie-restricted diet led to effective weight management and improvements in metabolic syndrome among participants in the study.

This is the first clinical study of its kind in Taiwan, and results show that over a 12-week period, participants lost, on average, 4.5 kilograms in weight, 6.5 centimeters in waist circumference, and had a 2.5-per cent reduction in body fat percentage. In addition, the fasting blood glucose level, the triglyceride level, and the low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDLc) level were also controlled by the method, according to Herbalife.

This study recruited 188 volunteer patients with metabolic syndrome in Taiwan. They were randomly assigned to one of four groups - "calorie restricted diet;" "calorie restricted diet with meal replacement;" "calorie restricted diet with fish oil;" and "calorie restricted diet with meal replacement and fish oil" groups to conduct a controlled diet and were observed over a 12-week period. Of those who participated, 179 successfully completed the study, Herbalife stated.

The research results showed that, on average, the participants of the "calorie restricted diet with fish oil" group lost 4.5 kilograms in weight, 6.5 centimeters in waist circumference, and had a 2.5-per cent reduction in the body fat percentage. Furthermore, in comparison with the other three groups, it was found that the "calorie restricted diet with meal replacement and fish oil" also experienced an improvement and stability in the levels of fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, LDLc, and the blood pressure with improvement in the overall metabolic syndrome, said Herbalife.

David Heber, chairman of the Herbalife Nutrition Institute and the Nutrition Advisory Board, said "Metabolic syndrome is a common condition affecting between 20-30 per cent of middle-aged adults in many countries. It is characterized by increases in waist circumference, fasting blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Among Asians, this condition is increasingly common even at normal body weights."

The results from the study have been published in the Journal of Functional Foods, a well-known journal in the food science research field, and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, an internationally renowned nutrition journal.