Eating more Omega 3 may well help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is on the rise. Estimates are that in a few short years diabetes will be one of the most significant diseases worldwide. Today we wanted to look at diabetes symptoms, and whether increasing your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids can help reduce your risk of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common form of diabetes, affecting roughly 90 percent of all diabetes sufferers. It is more common in older people, including women, but can also be contracted by younger people.
If you have type 2 diabetes your pancreas is not making sufficient insulin for your body’s needs resulting in too much glucose in your blood. This results in a wide range of symptoms, though can also be characterised by a lack of obvious symptoms, and for this reason it is considered that there are many sufferers who have never been diagnosed.
Those suffering from Type 2 diabetes may notice an increase in urine passed, unusual thirst, blurred vision, a sense of lethargy, mood swings and even notice that small cuts or abrasions may take a long time to heal, and gradual weight gain, and others.
Type 2 diabetes should be distinguished from type 1 diabetes which is a disease of young people, where the pancreas is unable to make insulin. This is much less common.
What are the diabetes risk factors?
The exact causes of type 2 diabetes are mixed and not totally understood, however the risk factors certainly are well understood. These risk factors include a genetic predisposition as well as a range of unhealthy lifestyle factors including poor diet, low levels of exercise, high blood pressure and obesity.
In other words the greatest risk of type 2 diabetes is an unhealthy lifestyle. And it can be managed in many cases by reversing these factors and increasing the level of exercise, improving the diet and reducing weight.
You are also at greater risk as you get older, though of course there is nothing you can do about this.
Women who have type 2 diabetes however have some specific concerns that are not shared by men. And women who are or intend to be pregnant have some very specific concerns. For example women with diabetes must pay specific attention to managing their diabetes during pregnancy as failure to manage blood sugar levels properly can lead to specific health problems such as high blood pressure and can even lead to health complications for the baby including birth defects or excessive weight.
Can you cure diabetes?
It is more difficult to cure diabetes than to prevent it, and for this reason much effort goes into type 2 diabetes prevention. Once a person has diabetes it is more common to manage it than to cure it, though good management can often lead to remission.
By paying more attention, in the early years of life, to maintaining a healthy lifestyle potential diabetes sufferers may well be able to prevent the condition occurring in the first place.
Does Omega 3 supplementation have a role in preventing or managing diabetes?
It would now seem as a result of a recent Chinese study that one of the tools that diabetes sufferers may use in managing their diabetes or even preventing it is Omega 3 supplementation. A Chinese study of around 110,000 people published in June 2011 has found that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of fish consumed and the incidence of diabetes.
In other words those who ate more fish had a lower level of diabetes.
Of course fish contains the 2 essential fatty acids known as the Omega 3 fats, DHA and EPA. It is well known that these are very important to the proper functioning of your body and there are a wide range of health conditions which may be improved or possibly even prevented by increasing your intake of DHA and EPA. It would seem, from the results of the study, that type 2 diabetes may be one of them.
In the study those with the highest levels of fish intake ate the equivalent of around 7 servings of fish per week. In the US this intake of fish is extremely rare.
The best way to increase your Omega 3 intake to this level is by taking Omega 3 supplements.
It’s fascinating to watch the gradual development of the scientific evidence in support of the conclusion that increasing your intake of the Omega 3 fats has very specific health benefits. The health benefits in relation to cardiovascular disease are now well established, and researchers gradually extending that 2 other conditions such as diabetes.
Of course this study does not prove that taking Omega 3 supplements, or eating lots of fish, can prevent or cure diabetes, but it certainly gives grounds for further study, and supports the conclusion that there are widespread health benefits for all of us in increasing our intake of the Omega 3 essential fatty acids.
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