Originally published June 11 2011
Want to prevent diabetes? Take more omega-3, says new research
by Tara Green
(NaturalNews) Consuming omega-3 fatty acids may help lower your risk of diabetes, according to two recent studies. The studies, one based in the US, the other in Singapore, found adults with higher levels of omega-3 fats were less likely to develop diabetes.
Researchers suggest people avoid interpreting the study as evidence of omega-3's as a "magic bullet" health solution. They note that omega-3 fats may only be markers for some other dietary or lifestyle aspect which helps protect against the diabetes. Rather than stocking up on fish oil tablets, they suggest a better way to avoid this disease is a diet based on whole foods. "Approaching your dietary intake with this 'big picture' approach should take care of the small things, like essential nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids," notes Andrew Odegaard of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, one of the researchers on the Singapore study.
Although previous lab research has suggested that omega-3s, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) , may enhance body cells' sensitivity to insulin (the hormone which regulates blood sugar), this link has not been conclusively proven. It may be that people who consume a lot of ALA -- found in flaxseeds and soy, as well as other plant sources-- also have overall better health habits, including regular exercise.
Neither of the 2 recent studies found a link between fish-derived omega-3's and lowered diabetes risk. Researchers speculate this may because people do not always consume fish as part of a healthy meal. For example, the omega-3 benefits of fish may be cancelled out if it is deep-fried, slathered with tartar sauce, and eaten with a side of French fries.
Natural News applauds Dr. Odegaard's emphasis on a holistic approach to avoiding diabetes rather than stressing the use of fish oil supplements. The Many other soft-gel nutritional supplements, contain hydrogenated oils as fillers. Hydrogenated oils have been linked in many studies cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. These oils also interfere with the absorption of essential fatty acids, so that, like that fried fish dinner, these kind of fish oil supplements may at best negate any omega-3 benefits, and at worst increase your health risks.
Unfortunately, less expensive vitamins are especially likely to contain filler, adding to the already high health burden of lower income people. Many vitamin companies are owned entirely or in part by Big Pharma companies. Natural Health strongly urge our readers to obtain as much nutrition as possible from whole food sources and to research carefully any vitamin company whose products you buy.
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