Omega-3 Fatty Acids’ Relationship with Diabetes

In the past several years, some research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids, usually considered a health panacea, could actually increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. A recent study contends that’s just not true. While lifestyle choices, such as diet and exercise, are known to greatly influence the development of type 2 diabetes, consuming omega-3 fatty acids, either long-chain or plant-derived, showed no association with higher incidence.  In fact, individuals with the highest concentration of both types of omega-3s had lower risk of diabetes than other individuals.

Previous studies have provided limited and inconsistent data on the relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and the risk of diabetes.  Many of these studies estimated omega-3 consumption through food-frequency questionnaires, a survey that provides information on eating habits, which make the studies vulnerable to measurement error.  To avoid the potential for error, this particular study used blood tests to  measure the omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in 3, 088 U.S. adults, age 65 years or older. This blood test eliminates the measurement error present in previous, inconsistent reports.

With this measurement strategy, the study concludes that subjects (older adults) with higher blood concentrations of omega-3s were associated with a lower risk of diabetes.  What does this mean for you?  Adding omega-3 food sources or supplements to your diet not only helps decrease your risk for coronary heart disease, maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels and improve joint health, but they may also lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.

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1 Comment

  • Ideally, we should be getting all the omega 3 we need to stay healthy from our diets but unfortunately modern diets, with all the process foods and starches we eat, have 20 to 50 times less omega 3 than the ideal amount. That is the reason to supplement with omega 3.

    There are basically 2 types of omega 3, from vegetable and animal origin. The omega 3 present in vegetables is in the ALA omega 3 fats form which have to be converted by your body into the EPA and DHA Omega 3 fats. The animal omega 3 fats are already in the EPA and DHA form so they are readily available for assimilation. You only assimilate a 5 – 10% of the omega 3 in the ALA form.

    Therefore, it is more efficient to take fish oil, cod liver oil or krill oil than the flaxseeds or chia oils you find in the market.

    Make sure you take at least 900 mg of total omega 3 fats per day (EPA plus DHA from the label) to really get the benefits of omega 3.


    Best wishes,

    Alfredo E.

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