Should you be taking a fish oil tablet for diabetes?
Every year around a million people in the US are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Although not usually fatal type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, and can have a major effect on the life of the sufferer. Is there a link between fish oil and diabetes reduction?
The increase in the rate of diabetes in our population has scientists worried. Along with the impact on the lives of the diabetes sufferers and their family there are enormous costs imposed on the health system and the sufferer, often for life. So what can be done to lower the incidence of diabetes in the population?
Certainly there are a range of lifestyle factors which can help with the reduction in diabetes, such as dietary changes, levels of exercise and losing weight. However here we concentrate on the benefits of Omega 3 fats, so we want to look at Omega 3 and diabetes.
There is now little doubt that there is clear evidence supporting the link between fish oil and diabetes relief. Fish oil is of course the major source of Omega 3 fatty acids, and almost all good Omega 3 supplements utilize fish oil for their Omega 3. The main fats that are of benefit to diabetes are known as EPA and DHA. We have written about these elsewhere on this site.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. The disease causes insulin in the blood to be unable to sufficiently deal with the levels of blood sugar, so these become elevated.
And the insulin is less able to assist with the uptake of the fats into the cells, so levels of fats in the blood rise. People with diabetes tend to have lower levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and higher levels of triglycerides in the blood, and the figures also show that people with type 2 diabetes have a 6 times higher risk of heart attack and a 3 to 8 times higher risk of heart disease than people who do not.
So what is the fish oil and diabetes link? Is there any evidence that taking Omega 3 fish oil has any effect on diabetes? Yes, scientists are now convinced that Omega 3 fish oil and diabetes relief are inextricably linked, and that taking fish oil lowers some of the risks inherent to sufferers of diabetes.
Why is there a link between diabetes and fish? Because fish oil is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, and studies have shown that polyunsaturated Omega 3 fats reduce the amount of triglycerides in the blood, reduce abnormal heart rhythms, reduce blood pressure by small but significant amounts, and improve blood clotting regulation.
A large study on the link between fish oil and diabetes found that taking one gram of fish oil a day reduced cardiovascular mortality by 30% and the risk of death by heart attack by 45%. Blood pressure is lowered and circulation problems reduced. As the risks of heart problems are way higher for diabetes sufferers this is excellent news indeed.
A number of studies have now confirmed that diabetes and fish oil intake are linked, that more Omega 3 in the diet helps reduce the negative effects of type 2 diabetes.
How should you be getting your fish oil? Well of course eating fish high in fat is a good way, the American Heart Association recommends eating 2 fish meals a week, but there are also warnings for certain people of eating too much fish due to the incidence of some heavy metals and in particular contaminants like mercury in fish.
So by far the best way to get daily Omega 3 in the diet is to take the very best Omega 3 supplements. The best ones use fish from the southern ocean, the cleanest ocean in the world. These fish are naturally high in DHA and EPA, and the oil taken is then purified by a process called molecular distillation so that the are no detectable levels of nasty contaminants in the oil.
And the best Omega 3 supplements also have higher levels of DHA, the most important Omega 3 fat, than regular fish oil capsules.
So it seems clear, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes there are good reasons to include quality fish oil your diet daily.
The lowering of the risks of death and disease are so striking it’s worth making the effort to up your intake of fish oil, daily.