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Omega-3 fatty acids may help to decrease type 2 diabetes risk

June 5, 2013

According to a new US review, regular intakes of fish oil with omega-3 fatty acids increase amounts of a hormone that is associated with lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.

The meta-analysis reviewed and analyzed results from 14 randomized controlled trials with a total of 1,323 participants who either took daily fish oil supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids or placebo (1). The analysis showed that participants supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids had increased blood levels of adiponectin, a hormone shown to have beneficial effects on metabolic processes like glucose regulation and the modulation of inflammation. The effect of fish oil on adiponectin differed substantially across the trials, suggesting that fish oil supplementation may have stronger influence on adiponectin in some populations and weaker effects in others.

The researchers commented that these results support potential benefits of fish oil consumption on glucose control and fat cell metabolism via adiponectin. Although earlier research linked higher blood levels of adiponectin to lower risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease, it remains unclear whether fish oil influences glucose metabolism and development of type 2 diabetes. In addition, the results highlight the need for further investigation in populations that may particularly benefit from fish oil supplementation, they said.

References

1. Wu J. et al. Effect of fish oil on circulating adiponectin: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Published online May 2013.