Research: Reduce insulin resistance with omega-3 fatty acids

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: omega-3, diabetes, insulin resistance

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(NaturalNews) A higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce insulin resistance, thereby reducing the risk or severity of type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted by researchers from the University of South Australia and published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes desensitized to the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin, leading to dangerously high levels of glucose in the blood. It is strongly associated with a diet high in sugars and fats, and is strongly linked to obesity and cardiovascular disease.

A growing body of research

The study was conducted on 126 adult First Nations Canadians living in the rural Okanagan region of British Columbia. A First Nations population was used due to the relatively high risk of type 2 diabetes among such groups. The researchers found that participants who ate more omega-3s in their diets showed significantly lower levels of insulin resistance, while those with a higher dietary saturated fat intake showed higher insulin resistance (and therefore were at higher risk of diabetes).

An earlier study, conducted by researchers from the University of Barcelona and published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal in 2009, found that a higher dietary intake of omega-3s was associated with lower levels of biochemical markers of insulin resistance. A study published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology in 2011 found a similar result among participants who ingested one gram of either a placebo or concentrated omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) three times a day with meals over the course of six months.

Essential oils for your health

Many researchers now believe that the Western diet is too high in omega-6 fatty acids, derived primarily from vegetable oils, and too low in omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in fish oil, canola oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, kiwifruit and purslane.

According to the Mayo Clinic, rigorous scientific research strongly supports numerous health benefits of increased intake of omega-3s or fish oil. Studies have shown that people who take omega-3 supplements live significantly longer and have significantly fewer heart attacks. Taking just one or two omega-3 capsules per day has also been shown to significantly reduce systemic inflammation, which can increase the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and dementia.

Omega-3s have also been shown to lower blood pressure and to decrease pain and inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis - sometimes as well as over-the-counter drugs!

In addition, the Mayo Clinic lists at least 70 other potential health benefits that have been supported by scientific research, but have yet to be conclusively proven to the clinic's satisfaction. The new study into these oils' benefits in regulating blood sugar and preventing diabetes are just one more step toward confirming these benefits.

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