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Fish Oils Help Battle Diabetes

The heart protective benefits of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been frequently reported in the press in recent years, since studies have shown them to protect against atherosclerosis and heart disease, possibly by reducing platelet aggregation. One particular area that researchers have been interested in examining is the potential benefits of omega-3 on diabetes.

Researchers have found that fish oils improve glucose control, among other things. The latest findings from Louisiana State University indicate that omega-3 fish oils help improve insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition. The small study involved 12 overweight individuals predisposed to Type II diabetes, who were asked to supplement with 1.8 grams of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) daily for 12 weeks. Results showed that insulin function improved in 70% of the study participants, and significantly in 50% of them. These results suggest that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil may help keep diabetes from developing.

People with Type II diabetes often have high triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, which compound their risk of heart disease. Canadian scientists found that supplementing with omega-3 rich fish oil capsules (about 2.0 grams/day) for three months markedly lowered triglycerides in Type II diabetes patients.1 Other study findings from Norway show that taking a fish oil supplement (3.4 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) combined) for 16 weeks lowered blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic) significantly in obese people with hypertension without adversely affecting glucose control.2


  1. Diabetes Care 1996 May;19:463-67
  2. Annals of Internal Medicine 1995 Dec 15;123(12): 911- 918

Key concepts: Fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids, diabetes