The effects of different amounts of omega 3—polyunsaturated fatty acids in diets with normal or high content of fat on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism were investigated.

Design and Methods

Mice were fed for 8 weeks on diets enriched with fish oil or lard at 10% or 60% of energy. Energy balance and energy expenditure were analyzed. Fatty acid (FA) oxidative capacity of the liver and the activity of enzymes involved in this pathway were assessed.


Fish oil-fed mice had lower body weight and adiposity compared with lard-fed animals, despite having lower rates of oxygen consumption. Mice fed diets containing fish oil also displayed lower glycemia, reduced fat content in the liver, and improved glucose tolerance compared with lard-fed animals. The fish oil-containing diets increased markers of hepatic peroxisomal content and increased the generation of metabolites derived from FA β-oxidation in liver homogenates. In contrast, no changes were observed in the content of mitochondrial electron transport chain proteins or carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 in the liver, indicating little direct effect of fish oil on mitochondrial metabolism.


Collectively, our findings suggest that the energy inefficient oxidation of FAs in peroxisomes may be an important mechanism underlying the protection against obesity and glucose intolerance of fish oil administration.