Omega-3 and some fatty acids may increase women’s risk of type 2 diabetes

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 

 

The health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids have been widely acknowledged, however, a new study has found that the intake of some form of omega-3 and other fatty acids may increase the risk of type 2diabetes for women. The study findings was published in the Journal of Diabetologia and also presented at the European Association for Study of Diabetes General Assembly in Munich, Germany.

Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that manifest in three main forms: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). ALA is found in some vegetable oils including canola and soybean oils while EPA and DHA are present in fatty fish and shellfish, including salmon, trout, tuna, and mussels. Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) is another form of omega-3, present in fatty fish and some red meats, though its health benefits are not well known.

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 19 millions adults and 664000 children in the United States do take omega-3 supplements monthly. It is interesting to know that omega-3 fatty acids are also available as dietary supplements.
The health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are prevention of blood clot, regulation of muscular activities, aiding digestion and enhancement of reproductive system. Recently, Medical News Today published a study that found that omega-3 improves heart damage and function after a heart attack, while another study linked omega-3 to reduced breast cancer risk.

However, this new study with the goal of finding how fatty acids influence the risk of type 2, analyzed data of 71,334 women involved in a French prospective E3N cohort study.
Using computer modeling, the researchers estimated how fatty acid consumption related to women’s risk of type 2 diabetes. Compared with women in the lowest 33 percent of omega-3 fatty acid intake (less than 1.3 grams daily), those in the highest 33 percent (omega-3 intake of at least 1.6 grams daily) were found to be at 26 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The team divided the women into two groups based on their body mass index (BMI): women with a BMI greater than 25kg/m2 (overweight) and those with a BMI below 25kg/m2.
The team uncovered that non-overweight women in the top third for overall fatty acid consumption (greater than 15.3 grams daily) were at 22 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes, compared with those in the lowest third (less than 12.0 grams daily).
Focusing particularly on omega-3 intake among the two groups, the researchers discovered overweight women in the highest 33 percent were at 19 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes, while non-overweight women were at 38 percent greater risk, compared with women in the lowest 33 percent of omega-3 consumption.
Furthermore, the researchers focused on type 2 diabetes risk dependent on intake of specific types of fatty acids and the result revealed that women in the top third for intake of DPA were at 54 percent greater risk of type 2 diabetes if they were overweight and at 45 percent greater risk if they were not overweight, compared with women in the lowest third.
While assessing the effects of omega-3 fatty acids, the researchers found that non-overweight women in the top third for intake of arachidonic acid (more than 0.25 grams daily) had a 50 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, while overweight women in this group had a 74 percent increased risk, compared with those in the lowest third.
After identifying several potential confounding factors including the food sources of fatty acids, the team found that the link between high intakes of DPA and arachidonic acid and increased risk of type 2diabetes remained.
Meat and seafood are identified as the primary sources of DPA and arachidonic acid. The team said “Different polyunsaturated fatty acids appear to have different effects regarding the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A high consumption of docosapentaenoic acid and arachidonic acid may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. The team suggested the intake of the required nutritional value of meat needed by the body.



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