Sluggish Metabolism or Thyroid Issues? Reach for the Fish Oil!

Fish oil has become all the rage.

If you don’t believe me, check out a recent study in the Journal of Food Science which had researchers infusing fish oil in goat cheese (of all things) to help people get adequate amounts of the two essential fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Even mainstream manufacturers are getting in on the act. Jif, for instance, recently introduced peanut butter with omega 3s, so you can get a little fish oil with your trans fat and added sugar.

All joking aside, if you’re read any of my books or followed my blog – heck, if you’ve followed health news at all over the past two decades – you know fish oil can fight inflammation, boost your brain power, and improve about a zillion other things in your body.

You might never have considered fish oil, though, for a sluggish thyroid. But a study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry  showed that omega 3s could increase thyroid hormone signaling within your liver.

What’s the connection between your thyroid and liver? Let me explain.

Your thyroid gland produces two hormones – T3 and T4 – that regulate your metabolic rate in your cells, including of course your liver cells. These two thyroid hormones, then, determine how effectively your liver metabolizes carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

When fish oil flips on your thyroid switch, it also cranks up your metabolism. Put another way, fish oil boosts thyroid hormones within your liver cells to burn fat.

When your cells have adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, thyroid hormones – particularly T3, your active thyroid hormone – work much more effectively at burning fat.

This becomes especially important if you have hypothyroidism, when your thyroid produces inadequate levels of these thyroid hormones.

According to the National Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases Information Service hypothyroidism affects about 5% of Americans, most of them women.

Among the many side effects of hypothyroidism include fatigue, low libido, menstrual irregularities, brain fog, constipation, depression, and perhaps most frustratingly, weight gain.

When your thyroid gland isn’t making enough hormones, metabolism comes to a crashing halt. Your body can’t effectively metabolize food, which frequently results in weight gain.

Fish oil, then, might be your ticket to crank up your fat-burning metabolism by boosting the efficiency of thyroid hormones.

If you think you might have hypothyroidism, ask your doctor to run a full panel of thyroid tests, including thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), free T3, and thyroid antibodies.

Elevated TSH, for instance, often indicates hypothyroidism. On the other hand, high levels of thyroid antibodies can suggest an autoimmune condition.

Whether or not you have hypothyroid, fish oil is a great supplement to add to your fat-burning arsenal.

Consider two studies, both from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One study concluded a moderate dose of omega 3s for two months helped women with type 2 diabetes burn fat, boost insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation.

The other study found that fish oil, combined with regular exercise, burns fat and reduces your risk for heart disease.

You’ve got to do both – exercise and take fish oil – to get those effects. Likewise, don’t think you can eat McDonald’s cheeseburgers, swallow some fish oil, and magically melt away the fat.

But combined with a lower-carb diet and effective exercise, fish oil might provide that extra push to boost your metabolism and ditch those last stubborn pounds.

This is the fish oil I take every single day.

The fish oil I take everyday is Barlean’s Double Potency Epa-DHA Fish Oil. It is the purest form of fish oil on the market in an ideal dose/ratio of EPA to DHA Omega-3




  1. Miekie

    Wow ! I was so happy to read about this! I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a few months ago and was told to take thyroid medication but yet made me feel sick and they caused full pains in my thighs and abdomen. I stopped taking them and just started on fish oil capsules today. Will they correct my thyroid combined with exercise and a healthy diet?

  2. nikki

    Hi I have recently bought fish oil nature’s bounty brand…I have hypothyroidism and gain weight when I take the pills so I don’t I am just below levels but I also started getting acne and orange peel checks from dry skin and wanted to try this but mow all I read online is don’t take fish oil it’s been found to be horrible for your health cause deadly side effects do cod liver oil instead but read bad on that as well I would like some actual advice on this I am terrified to ha e something bad happen because of it I already have seizures for unknown reasons but I am feeling very depressed on my skin condition.please help me understand.

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  4. Robin

    Thank you for this interesting article. 🙂

    I’ve been taking fish oil off and on for many years and I’ve found higher quality fish oil in high doses (3000 + grams) works best for me.
    However, recently something I’ve noticed, since I restarted again that is, is that for the first 2 days I felt really sleepy from it, but the 3rd day it energized me so much that I couldn’t fall asleep at night :-)…. which is fine, as long as I take it during the daytime.

    The energizing effect made me wonder if it might have boosted my thyroid hormone levels.