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Omega-3s May Help Diabetics Avoid Heart Failure

Diabetics have a higher risk of developing heart disease but a new study from the Netherlands recently found that omega-3 essential fatty acids may help protect diabetics from heart failure.

The study was published in the September 2009 issue of The European Journal of Heart Failure.

The researchers from Wageningen University, the Netherlands recruited 5,299 men and women free of heart failure with an average age of 67 in 1990 when the study began.

After an average of 11 years of follow-up, 669 people (13%) developed heart failure.

Heart failure is the number one cause of hospitalization among people over 65 and it occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood to serve the body's needs.

The researchers observed an 11% reduction in heart failure among participants with the highest average intake of omega-3 essential fatty acids (183 mg daily) compared to the lowest average intake (less than 34 mg per day.)

Among diabetics the benefits were much more significant. The group with the highest daily omega-3 intake saw a 42% reduction in heart failure.

A large body of research has already linked omega-3 consumption with heart benefits and it appears that these benefits may be particularly significant for diabetics.

Another study earlier this year published in the June edition of the journal Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases found that daily consumption of omega-3s may reduce blood levels of homocysteine in diabetics. Homocysteine is a compound in the blood that has been linked to heart disease.

The evidence linking heart health and omega-3 consumption is extensive and an increasing number of studies are showing that omega-3s may also improve cognitive function, aid in weight loss and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Eating more fatty fish like salmon and mackerel at least 3 times a week is a great way to increase your omega-3 essential fatty acid levels. If fish isn't to your taste, another option is to take a quality fish oil supplement high in EPA and DHA and certified for purity.

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