Check your oil

It may be time to check the oil. Fish oil, that is.

Research offers us a word of caution for those who have type 2 diabetes (or a pre-diabetic condition) and who take fish oil capsules to supplement omega-3 fatty acids.

A study from The University of Western Australia in Perth, Australia, set out to determine if the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – have an effect on insulin sensitivity.

Over a period of 6 weeks, 59 type 2 diabetic subjects took 4 grams per day of EPA, DHA, or olive oil. The researchers found that EPA and DHA had negligible effects on insulin levels, but that blood sugar levels increased with both.

This is the first indication I’ve seen that omega-3 fatty acids can have adverse effects. But the 4 grams per day used in the study is considered a high dose. So for most of us, moderate intake of omega-3 EPA and DHA through fish oil supplements should do no harm – and will most likely do a world of good.

Because this was a fairly small study, and only 6 weeks long, further research is called for. But in the meantime, type 2 diabetics would be wise to take special efforts to closely monitor blood sugar levels when using this supplement.

To Your Good Health,

Jenny Thompson
Health Sciences Institute

Sources:

“Be Careful in Using Fish Oil if You are Diabetic” Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola.com, 11/16/02

“Effects of Purified Eicosapentaenoic and Docosahexaenoic Acids on Glycemic Control, Blood Pressure, and Serum Lipids in Type 2 Diabetic Patients with Treated Hypertension” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002 Nov;76(5):1007-15
2:06 PM 3/25/2005