24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
(361)575-0611
(800)421-8825
Fax: (361)578-5500

Medical Disorders
Resources
Basic InformationLookupsLatest News
As in Adults, Minority Kids Hit Hardest by COVID-19Simple Test Shows Which Face Masks Are BestBeware of Hand Sanitizers Containing MethanolWhat Athletes Should Know About COVID-19, Heart Damage and Working OutCOVID-19 Causing More Stress in America Than Other Nations: SurveyWill Your Kid Play School Sports This Fall? Here's Some Guidance on Doing It SafelyScientists Call for Broader Use of Faster COVID TestsTwo Common Nutrients Might Keep Vertigo at BayPeople Are Dying, Going Blind After Drinking Hand Sanitizer, CDC WarnsMore Social Media Use, More Fake COVID NewsSkip the 'Maskne,' Not the MaskObesity Ups Odds for Severe COVID-19, But Age MattersSeven States Join Pact to Speed Coronavirus TestingStudy Casts Doubt on Value of Cholesterol DrugsCOVID-19 Fears Had Sick, Injured Americans Avoiding ERsCancer Diagnoses Plunge as Americans Avoid Screening During PandemicMysterious Paralyzing Illness in Kids Is Set to Return, CDC WarnsMany Older Americans Staying Strong in the PandemicCoronavirus Cases Now Climbing in the MidwestCould the First Drug That Slows Arthritis Be Here?Schools Can Reopen Safely If Precautions in Place, Australian Study ShowsFace Masks, Yes, But Don't Forget Hand-Washing TooEven With PPE, Risk of COVID-19 Still High for Frontline WorkersCoronavirus Pandemic Becoming Far More Widespread, Birx SaysGuard Against Lyme Disease This SummerKids 'Efficient' Transmitters as COVID-19 Raced Through a Georgia Summer CampCollege Students Will Need COVID Tests Every 2-3 Days for Campus Safety: StudyAHA News: Sustained High Blood Pressure May Damage Brain VesselsAnother Side Effect of COVID-19 -- Lasting Hearing Problems?Pandemic Could Complicate Hurricane SeasonStudy Reveals How Coronavirus Travels IndoorsNew Study Sheds Doubt on Notion Kids Aren't COVID-19 SpreadersAHA News: Are Virtual Doctor Visits Safe for Discharged Heart Failure Patients?Double Lung Transplants Save Lives of Sickest COVID PatientsGynecological Cancers Not a Risk for Severe COVID-19: Study11 States Could Face ICU Doc Shortages as Coronavirus Cases SurgeWildfire Pollution Puts Kidney Patients at RiskAmerica's Progress Against Early Cardiovascular Death Is SlowingAHA News: 5 Easy Ways to Keep Tabs on Heart HealthGene Study Shows How Coronavirus Swept Through the Diamond PrincessOne Disease Mosquitoes Don't Spread: CoronavirusU.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surges Past 150,000Do Bedbugs Dirty the Air Inside Your Home?AHA News: New Test May Predict Who Develops Certain Type of Heart FailureLess Smoking, Drinking Means Fewer Hip Fractures for AmericansYet Another Study Finds Vaccines Are SafeCommon Diabetes Meds Linked to Higher Odds for a Serious ComplicationSurvivors' COVID Antibodies May Provide a Powerful GiftConcussion Ups Odds for Many Brain ConditionsFinal Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Get Underway
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Diabetes

Fish Oil Not a Magic Pill Against Diabetes

HealthDay News
by By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Aug 22nd 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- It would be welcome news to millions if fish oil supplements were proven to help prevent diabetes. But new research delivers very disappointing data on the prospect.

Previous research has hinted that fish oil supplements -- which contain omega-3 fatty acids -- might improve blood sugar metabolism and possibly stave off type 2 diabetes. But this latest research found no evidence that popping a daily fish oil pill could keep diabetes at bay.

"This large systematic review included information from many thousands of people over long periods. Despite all this information, we don't see protective effects, and the most trustworthy studies consistently showed little or no effect of long-chain omega-3 fats on diabetes," said study author Lee Hooper.

Additionally, she said that her group's previous research has shown that these types of supplements also don't protect against heart disease, stroke or early death. Hooper is a reader in research synthesis, nutrition and hydration at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia, in England.

Fish oil supplements can help reduce high levels of triglycerides (a type of blood fat that contributes to heart disease), Hooper noted. She said the supplements are generally considered safe to take, but added that this review found that larger doses -- above four or five grams per day -- of fish oil supplements might actually lead to worse blood sugar metabolism.

So if people do take fish oil supplements, she noted, they should take doses that are less than 4.4 grams a day to avoid any potentially negative effects.

The review included 83 randomized, controlled clinical trials with more than 120,000 participants in total. Most assessed the effects of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid. The effects of alpha-linolenic acid, omega-6 fatty acid and total polyunsaturated fats were also included in some of the studies, but Hooper said there wasn't enough information on these fats to include in the review.

Omega-3 fats are typically found in fatty fish like salmon. They are also available as over-the-counter supplements.

The studies in the review lasted 24 weeks or longer. The study participants were mostly from Europe, but also from North America, South America, Australia and Asia. The studies were published from the 1960s until 2018.

The researchers looked at the effects of omega-3 fats taken as supplements or in foods.

After finding no benefit for diabetes prevention from these fats, the researchers double-checked the data in different ways. In one re-analysis, they looked only at the studies considered to be the highest quality. They also re-checked to see if different dosages or longer studies might have led to different outcomes.

The investigators still found no benefit. Hooper said the results of this review are very definitive: "Taking fish oil supplements does not protect against diabetes."

Hooper said the researchers weren't able to assess the effects of eating oily fish on diabetes, because there wasn't enough published evidence. They also didn't have enough information from the studies to see if omega-3 supplements might be helpful for people who start off with a low level of this nutrient.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said this study clearly showed that fish oil supplements won't prevent diabetes.

"It's the same story again -- first it was vitamin E, green tea, chromium, cinnamon and then fish oil. Everyone wants a pill to cure or prevent diabetes, but it's not there. And people are spending a lot of money on these supplements," he said.

Zonszein said fish like salmon can be a good option as part of a healthy, balanced diet, but that there's no evidence that fish oil supplements alone can help diabetes.

"Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to a number of complications. Once you have diabetes, you need to treat it properly," he explained.

The review was published Aug. 21 in the BMJ.

More information

Learn more about omega-3 fatty acid supplements from the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.