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Omega-3 May Reduce Obesity-Related Diseases

A study involving Alaskan Eskimos has found that high intakes of omega-3's may reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

The study was published in the April, 2011 edition of the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

330 Yup’ik Eskimos with an average age of 45 were recruited for the study. 70% of the participants were overweight or obese at the start of the study. Yup’ik Eskimos were used in the study because, while they have similar obesity rates to the rest of the US population, the incidence of type-2 diabetes in that group is only 3.3%, compared to 7.7% nationally.

The researchers analyzed blood samples to look at the association between Body Mass Index (BMI), levels of EPA and DHA and markers of heart disease. They found that obese participants with low omega-3 levels had increased levels of triglycerides and C-reactive protein (CRP). In contrast, obese participants with high blood levels of EPA and DHA had the same healthy levels of triglycerides and CRP as normal weight people.

Elevated triglyceride and CRP levels increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The researchers plan to conduct a study to test if increasing omega-3 intake would significantly decrease the effects of obesity on triglyceride and CRP levels. If the test results are positive, it would indicate that increasing omega-3 levels could potentially help prevent obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Taking a high quality supplement is a good way to increase omega-3 intake, however make sure that the supplement you choose is certified for purity and high in DHA and EPA, the two most important omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are also high in omega-3's.

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