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Study: Fish-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Published reports have been contradictory (January 14)

High concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted at the University of Eastern Finland. The sources of these fatty acids are fish and fish oils.

The new study was published in Diabetes Care.

Earlier research established that weight management, exercise, and high serum linoleic acid concentrations, among other factors, are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes. However, findings on how fish consumption or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids affect the risk of diabetes have been contradictory, the authors say. A protective effect has been observed mainly in Asian populations, whereas a similar link has not been reported in U.S. or European studies.

The ongoing Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study determined serum omega-3 fatty acid concentrations in 2,212 men between 42 and 60 years of age at the onset of the study (in 1984–1989). During a mean follow-up period of 19.3 years, 422 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acid concentrations were used to divide the subjects into four categories. The risk of men in the highest serum omega-3 fatty acid concentration quartile to develop type 2 diabetes was 33% lower than the risk of men in the lowest quartile.

According to the authors, a well-balanced diet should include at least two fish meals per week, preferably fatty fish. Fish rich in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, rainbow trout, vendace, bream, herring, anchovy, sardine, and mackerel.

Source: University of Eastern Finland; January 14, 2014.

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