The Link Between Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Diabetes Risk

September 30, 2011
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Diabetes, which affects more than 23 million Americans, is the most common disorder of the endocrine system and occurs when blood sugar levels in the body are consistently higher than they should be. Approximately 3.4 million people die from diabetes each year; the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts diabetes-related deaths will double between 2005 and 2030. While type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to make insulin, type 2 diabetes is caused by the body not responding to the effects of insulin. Unlike type 1, which is genetic, many experts believe that type 2 is largely preventable.

According to three new studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, taking in an increased amount of omega-3 fatty acids from marine and plant sources may reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Omega-3s are an unsaturated fatty acid found predominantly in fish oils and plant seed oils, and are an essential nutrient that most people simply don’t get enough of in their regular diet. There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: ALA, EPA and DHA. Fish, especially fatty fish (cod, salmon, trout, mackerel, haddock), is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.

The AJCN published the results of three studies–two on Chinese subjects and one on US subjects. The first Chinese study included data collected from more than 150,000 men and women and found that plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, while the second Chinese study found that omega-3 acids from fish sources was associated with reduced type 2 diabetes risk. The second study also showed that females responded better than males to the intake of omega-3s from fish. The US study followed 3,000 older men and women and found that both omega-3 fatty acids from fish and plant sources were associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

Regardless of your age or where you live, it seems that omega-3 fatty acids from fish and plants can help reduce your risk of developing this deadly disease. Ask your Pharmaca practitioner about how omega-3 fatty acids can be taken safely to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

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