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Omega 3 (Fish Oil) and Diabetes

Although, there has been some controversy regarding the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in diabetes, scientific experts and research studies appear to support the use of fish oil supplementation for patients with type 2 diabetes, suggesting a positive effect on triglyceride levels and no adverse effect on glycemic control.

In a study investigating the effect of long-term administration of EPA-E (highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester), the incidence of diabetes was shown to be significantly suppressed at an EPA-E intake level of 0.3g/kg or higher. Furthermore, administration of EPA-E was shown to decrease the elevation of plasma glucose after an oral glucose load and ameliorate coagulation-related parameters. In addition, ADP (collagen-induced platelet aggregation) and the cholesterol to phospholipids (C/P) molar ratio in platelet membranes were both suppressed at an EPA-E dose of 0.1 g/kg or higher.

According to some researchers omega-3 fatty acids may improve many of the adverse metabolic effects of insulin resistance by lowering blood pressure and triacylglycerol concentrations. Administration of EPA-E (1800 mg/day for 48 weeks) to patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus resulted in significant beneficial effects on diabetic neuropathy and serum lipids as well as other diabetic complications such as nephropathy and macroangiopathy. EPA-E was found to improve clinical symptoms (coldness, numbness), the vibration perception threshold sense of the lower extremities, and significantly decrease serum triglycerides as well as excretion f albumin in urine.

Research studies suggest that omega-3 is useful in combating circulation problems associated with diabetes by rendering the walls of the veins and arteries smoother and more elastic.

According to some researchers DHA (docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil) has a positive effect on adult-onset diabetes mellitus and various other diseases.

According to Dr. Weil, diets rich in omega-3s can decrease insulin resistance in diabetics.

According to Dr. Michael Colgan, omega-3 fatty acids inhibit adult-onset diabetes.

According to a recently published study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (73:1019-102, 2001), polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce women’s risk of type 2 diabetes.

According to Dr. Michael T. Murray, individuals with diabetes cannot form gammalinolenic acid (omega-6 fatty acid – GLA) from linoleic acid and therefore he suggests that diabetics should not rely on flaxseed oil (which contains 6 grams of omega-3 alphalinolenic acid and two grams of omega-6 linoleic acid per one tablespoon) for GLA, which has been shown to improve nerve function and prevent diabetic nerve disease.


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