As we wrote, “… research on omega-3s and diabetes shows that these essential fats exert genetic influences similar to diabetes drugs … but while generally positive, the evidence from human clinical and diet-health studies remains mixed.”
The subjects of our report were two epidemiological studies that added encouraging indications to the somewhat mixed scientific picture.
Now the results of a pilot clinical trial show that supplemental omega-3 fish oil reduced key markers for insulin resistance … the all-too-common metabolic condition that leads directly to diabetes.
In brief, trial participants who took omega-3 capsules with fatty meals showed:
Improvements in major insulin-resistance markers
Improved blood fat (triglyceride) and cholesterol profiles
Higher levels of adiponectin … a hormone that supports cells' sensitivity to insulin
Omega-3s reduced markers for insulin resistance and improved blood fat profiles
Researchers led by Giuseppe Derosa from the University of Pavia, Italy recruited 167 patients … 82 men and 85 women (Derosa G. et al. 2011).
The volunteers were randomly assigned to take one of two identical capsules three times a day, during meals, for six months:
Fish oil, rich in omega-3 EPA and DHA
Placebo capsule of sucrose, mannitol, and mineral salts
After six months, the omega-3 group had healthier HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride profiles compared to placebo, with no effect on total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol levels.
And by the end of the six-month trial, the omega-3 group showed improvements in all insulin resistance “biomarkers” following meals, versus no change in the placebo group.
As Derosa and his colleagues wrote, “We conclude that the treatment with n-3 PUFA [fish oil] resulted in a greater improvement of lipid profile compared to placebo … and an improvement of all insulin resistance parameters after [a meal, compared to placebo]” (Derosa G. et al. 2011).
- Derosa G. et al. Effects of n-3 PUFA on insulin resistance after an oral fat load. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. Article first published online : 14 JUN 2011, DOI: 10.1002/ejlt.201000504. Accessed at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejlt.201000504/abstract