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Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Oils May Improve Biomarkers Associated With Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

A recent study suggests that a combination of borage and echium oils or fish oil may improve cholesterol levels and improve blood biomarkers in people with type-2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Participants in the study included 59 people with early-stage type-2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Over the course of eight weeks they underwent one of three interventions:

1. a control in the form of corn oil;

2. a combination of borage and echium oils;

3. fish oil supplements.

At the conclusion of the study, the borage/echium oils group had a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Total cholesterol dropped from 182.0 to 171.9 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol dropped from 106.3 to 96.8 mg/dL.

The fish oil group had increases in HDL (or “good”) cholesterol from 40.7 mg/dL to 53.6 mg/dL. They also showed a decrease in triglycerides from 187.2 to 156.8 mg/dL. The fish oil group also had decreases in the hemoglobin A1c test, which measures how well diabetes is being controlled.

Researchers from Wake Forest School of Medicine in North Carolina conducted the study. It was published on December 16, 2014, in Lipids in Health and Disease.

Fish oil and the omega-3s have been linked to numerous other health benefits, including combating diabetes, lowering cholesterol, improving vision, reducing the risk of dementia and relieving depression.

If you’re looking to increase your fish oil intake, try adding darker fish, such as salmon or tuna, to your diet. If you don’t like the taste of fish or are just finding it hard to work it into your meal plans, consider taking a high quality supplement. Make sure your supplement is tested for purity and potency.

Borage oil contains omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid (LA), as well as relatively high levels of oleic acid. Previous studies have linked it with easing skin disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, ADHD, and inflammation. It can be purchased as oil or eaten in salad or soups.

Previous studies have linked echium oil with improved immunity and lower inflammation, as well as lower risk of a cardiac event. It is especially important for vegetarians and vegans, who don’t eat fish or eggs and therefore do not get enough essential EPA and DHA omega-3s through their diet.

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