Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and it’s a chronic disease with very serious, potentially life-threatening complications. Because it tends to be fairly hereditary, relatives of Type 2 diabetes patients are at a higher risk for developing it themselves. In fact, one-third of children of Type 2 diabetes sufferers will also develop the condition (and unfortunately, more and more children are being diagnosed with it every day). Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight, what else can the offspring of type 2 diabetes patients do to lower their risk?
You guessed it, they can take fish oil! The results of a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 50 normoglycemic offspring of patients with type 2 diabetes indicate that taking omega-3s may improve endothelial function — endothelial dysfunction is thought to be a key event in the development of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the large arteries that can cause heart attack and stroke. Fish oil supplementation also reduced system-wide inflammation in the body.
The subjects in the omega-3 group were given 2 grams a day, and at the end of the 12 week study, they showed significant improvement in blood flow, a decrease in blood triglycerides and system-wide inflammation markers and a trend towards increase in adiponectin (a hormone that regulates the metabolism). Thus, the authors of this study conclude that taking fish oil supplements may have especially beneficial cardiovascular and metabolic health effects for those predisposed to diabetes and its vascular complications.