Can Dietary Oil Supplements Affect Fat Loss and Increase Muscle?

A new study lead by the Carol S. Kennedy professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, Martha A. Belury, shows that dietary oil supplements could help obese older women with type-2 diabetes decrease fat and increase muscle. The study involved two oils, safflower oil and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and was published online by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The study was noted as receiving no funding from the supplement industry.

The study originally involved 55 women with an average age of 60 years old, but only 35 women completed the full study. The 35 women were involved in two different study periods, each period concentrating on an individual oil for 16 weeks, separated by a four week break. During the two 16 week periods, the women took eight dietary oil capsules of either safflower oil or CLA, for a total of eight grams of oil per day. Although the women did not change their exercise or dietary routines, they did keep a journal of both to note any subtle changes in either.

Safflower oil was noted as decreasing belly fat tissue by 2 to 4 pounds and boosting muscles mass by 1 to 3 pounds. It also lowered blood sugar levels by 11 to 19 points. Safflower is a common cooking oil that is considered a ‘good’ fat.

CLA was noted as decreasing body fat by a little over 3 percent, while decreasing body mass index (BMI) by about half a point. CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid.

Despite study results, experts say it is still best for obese older women with type-2 diabetes to adhere to a healthy diet and regular exercise routine to help lower weight, increase muscle mass and control diabetes.