British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Human and Clinical Nutrition

A randomised study on the effects of fish protein supplement on glucose tolerance, lipids and body composition in overweight adults

Linn A. Vikørena1, Ottar K. Nygårda1a2, Einar Lieda1, Espen Rostrupa1a2 and Oddrun A. Gudbrandsena1 c1

a1 Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital, N-5021 Bergen, Norway

a2 Department of Heart Disease, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway


The popularity of high-protein diets for weight reduction is immense. However, the potential benefits from altering the source of dietary protein rather than the amount is scarcely investigated. In the present study, we examined the effects of fish protein supplement on glucose and lipid metabolism in overweight adults. A total of thirty-four overweight adults were randomised to 8 weeks' supplementation with fish protein or placebo tablets (controls). The intake of fish protein supplement was 3 g/d for the first 4 weeks and 6 g/d for the last 4 weeks. In this study, 8 weeks of fish protein supplementation resulted in lower values of fasting glucose (P< 0·05), 2 h postprandial glucose (P< 0·05) and glucose-area under the curve (AUC) (five measurements over 2 h, P< 0·05) after fish protein supplementation compared to controls. Glucose-AUC was decreased after 8 weeks with fish protein supplement compared to baseline (P< 0·05), concomitant with increased 30 min and decreased 90 min and 2 h insulin C-peptide level (P< 0·05), and reduced LDL-cholesterol (P< 0·05). Body muscle % was increased (P< 0·05) and body fat % was reduced (P< 0·05) after 4 weeks' supplementation. Physical activity and energy and macronutrients intake did not change during the course of the study. In conclusion, short-term daily supplementation with a low dose of fish protein may have beneficial effects on blood levels of glucose and LDL-cholesterol as well as glucose tolerance and body composition in overweight adults. The long-term effects of fish protein supplementation is of interest in the context of using more fish as a protein source in the diet, and the effects of inclusion of fish in the diet of individuals with low glucose tolerance should be evaluated.

(Received November 21 2011)

(Revised February 29 2012)

(Accepted March 27 2012)

(Online publication May 31 2012)

Key Words:

  • Glucose homeostasis;
  • Insulin;
  • Cholesterol;
  • Body composition


c1 Corresponding author: Dr O. A. Gudbrandsen, fax +47 55975890, E-mail:


  Abbreviations: AUC, area under the curve; CRP, C-reactive protein; HbA1c, glycated Hb; HOMA-IR, homeostasis model assessment – insulin resistance