A diet high in saturated fat and refined sugars is known to disrupt the development of nerves in the brain, which can negatively impact brain health. In a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers reviewed 185 studies from around the world to determine whether omega-3 fatty acids had a protective effect against weight loss by reducing damage to the brain.

“Excessive intake of certain macronutrients, the refined sugars and saturated fats found in junk food, can lead to weight gain, disrupt metabolism, and even affect mental processing,” noted Lucy Pickavance, PhD, lead researcher. “Research, however, has suggested that omega-3 fish oils can reverse or even prevent these effects. We wanted to investigate the literature on this topic to determine whether there is evidence to suggest that omega-3s might aid weight loss by stimulating particular brain processes.”

While they didn’t find a direct effect on weight loss, they did find an indirect effect. “Fish oils don’t appear to have a direct impact on weight loss, but they may take the brakes off the detrimental effects of some of the processes triggered in the brain by high-fat diets,” she continued. “They seem to mimic the effects of calorie restrictive diets and including more oily fish or fish oil supplements in our diets could certainly be a positive step forward for those wanting to improve their general health.”

There is no doubt that omega-3 fish oil has a wide range of beneficial health effects. And lately I’ve seen a lot of evidence that omega-3s help blunt the effects of unhealthy habits. Let’s be clear that I’m not suggesting you follow your junk food binge with some fish oil. Fish oil won’t cancel out your bad habits. Instead, fish oil will help you undo the damage you’ve done, and hopefully help inspire you to live healthier, cleaner, and happier.