Diabetes MellitusHeart Disease

Reducing the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes

Researchers at the University of Sydney, and Royal North Shore Hospital, in Australia reviewed the possible role of omega-3 fatty acids.

First, the details.

  • The authors conducted a literature search of articles that addressed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or omega-3.

And, the results.

  • Fish and omega-3 consumption was associated with decreased total cardiovascular mortality (15% to 19%).
  • In addition, there was decreased platelet activation and aggregation (less likely to clot), and lower blood pressure.
  • Cholesterol levels also improved, with a reduction of triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and decreased inflammation.

The bottom line?

Diets higher in fish and omega-3 fatty acids may “reduce cardiovascular risk in diabetes by inhibiting platelet aggregation, improving lipid profiles, and reducing cardiovascular mortality,” concluded the authors.

Others have also reported the benefit of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in people with diabetes. In 1 study, a moderate dose of omega-3 for 2 months reduced adiposity and atherogenic markers, and had no negative effect on insulin sensitivity. Examples of atherogenic markers include cigarette smoking, excessive consumption of animal fats and refined sugar, obesity, and inactivity.

The American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association guidelines for cardiovascular disease prevention acknowledge the benefit of omega-3 fatty acids in people with established heart disease.

6/13/10 22:21 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.