Impact of fish intake on oxidative stress when included into a moderate energy-restricted program to treat obesity



The role of some nutritional factors and hypocaloric diets on oxidative balance is a matter of debate, especially related to the prevention and treatment of obesity and co-morbidities.

Aim of the study

The aim was to investigate the antioxidant capacity of different energy restricted diets in the treatment of obesity, paying emphasis to the effect of incorporating omega-3 fatty acids with or without other seafood components.


The study was a randomized 8-weeks parallel intervention trial prescribed to lose weight, which was implemented in 276 subjects aged 31.4 ± 5.4 y.o. following four different balanced hypocaloric diets (TEE-30%): fish-restricted (control), cod and salmon based diets and DHA+EPA supplemented administration. At baseline (day 0) and at the end of the trial (day 56), anthropometry, dietary intake, erythrocyte membrane fatty acid content, circulating malondialdehyde (MDA) and plasma antioxidant status (AOP) were determined.


Overall, percent weight loss was −5.8 ± 3.2% (< 0.001) and the AOP statistically increased after the energy restriction period (P = 0.015), basically due to the seafood-based diets. In contrast, MDA statistically only decreased (P = 0.026) after the cod-based diet intake with no changes after the other nutritional treatments. In fact, the cod-based intervention statistically decreased oxidative stress when expressed as the MDA/AOP ratio (P = 0.006).


A moderate calorie-restricted cod-based diet was found as a useful strategy to lose weight, which was accompanied by a specific improvement on oxidative stress markers. The low saturated fat content and the seafood protein source of this diet may be important factors involved in these findings.

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Thanks are given to the EU-Commission for financial support by a grant from the 6th framework for the project SEAFOODplus: A better life with seafood (FOOD-CT-2004-506359), as well as to volunteers who participated in the study. Financial support: This work is included in the SEAFOODplus YOUNG, being part of the SEAFOODplus Integrated Project, which is funded by the European Commission through the 6th Framework Programme Contract with Ref. FOOD-CT-2004-506359.

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Correspondence to Prof. J. Alfredo Martínez.

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Parra, D., Bandarra, N.M., Kiely, M. et al. Impact of fish intake on oxidative stress when included into a moderate energy-restricted program to treat obesity. Eur J Nutr 46, 460–467 (2007).

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Key words

  • obesity
  • oxidative stress
  • weight loss
  • PUFA
  • MDA