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Three Studies Suggest Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Help Prevent Diabetes Risk

Omega-3 fatty-acids, both plant and seafood derived, have been shown in three recent studies to lower the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. All of the studies were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition on May 18, 2011.

Two of the studies—the Shanghai Chinese Health Study and the Shanghai Health Studies—were conducted in China, included over 150,000 participants, and had slightly differing conclusions. The scientists from the first study determined that only plant-derived omega-3’s were associated with a lower risk of diabetes, while the second study stated that seafood derived omega-3’s also helped prevent type 2 diabetes.

The third study—the Cardiovascular Health Study—was conducted by researchers with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. It included 3,000 mature men and women. This study agreed with both of the Chinese studies by concluding that both plant and marine derived omega-3 fatty acids contributed to reducing the risk of diabetes.

The scientists came to this conclusion by measuring the blood levels of alpha-linolenic acid (the plant derived omega-3), EPA, and DHA. They noted that it’s not the intake levels of EPA/DHA that were associated with lower diabetes risk, but rather the plasma levels of EPA/DHA.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have numerous other health benefits, including warding off age-related cognitive decline, reducing the risk of age-related vision loss, and preventing heart failure. Recent studies have even suggested that daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids 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. Be sure to choose a supplement that is certified for purity and potency.

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