Omega-3 may lower diabetes risk

People who receive high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids through their daily diet are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes in the long run.

Two new studies have further suggested that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) — two omega-3s found in fatty fish — have protective effects against type 2 diabetes.

The study of 3,088 US elderly showed that those with the highest levels of the two omega-3 fatty acids are about one-third less likely to develop diabetes over the next decade, Reuters reported.

About 5 percent of the participants with the highest blood levels of EPA/DHA developed diabetes while the rate was as high as 6.5 percent in those with the lowest blood levels of the fatty acids, Dr. Luc Djousse of Harvard University and his colleagues found.

Furthermore, another study looking at 43,000 Singaporean adults suggested that taking more amounts of omega-3 fats, particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), lowers the risk of diabetes.

Neither of the two studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, however, confirmed the direct protective role of omega-3s against diabetes.

The findings just suggest and association and not a cause and effect relation, the scientists noted, adding that individuals are not urged to take Omega-3-containing supplements to protect themselves against diabetes.

People often hope there is a dietary “magic bullet” against disease, noted Andrew Odegaard of the University of Minnesota, who was involved in Singapore study.

“Approaching your dietary intake with this ‘big picture’ approach should take care of the small things, like essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids,” he added.


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