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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Markers of Insulin Resistance

The heart health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish) were first observed in Greenland Inuits, a group that has a high fat diet but low instances of cardiovascular disease. Now a new study from the University of Pavia, Italy reveals that omega-3 fatty acids may improve markers of insulin resistance.

The findings of the study were published in the June 2011 edition of the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology.

Insulin resistance is when the hormone insulin does not properly regulate blood sugar levels. If the body’s fat cells are unable to process sugar properly, blood sugar rises or falls dramatically, which can lead to diabetes.

At the start of the study, 82 men and 85 females were split into two groups: one received a placebo and one received omega-3 PUFA (concentrated EPA and DHA) three times a day during meals.

After six months, the group consuming omega-3 fatty acids showed a noticeable improvement in markers of insulin resistance while the placebo group showed no change. The omega-3 group also saw an improvement in HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride markers. The omega-3 acids did not, however, seem to have an effect on total cholesterol or LDL-cholesterol.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been proven to have to extensive health benefits, including warding off age-related cognitive decline, reducing the risk of age-related vision loss, and preventing heart failure. Some studies have even suggested that daily consumption of fish or an omega-3 supplement can ease depression.

If you’re looking to get more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, try adding darker fish (such as salmon or tuna) to your diet a few times a week. If you’re having trouble working fish into your weekly menu, try a high quality supplement. Supplements are an inexpensive and safe way to boost up your omega-3 fatty acid intake.

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