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Fish oil may lower triglyceride levels by almost 30 percent, according to an analysis of 26 published clinical trials performed by researchers at the Ziekenhuis der Veije University in the Netherlands. All trials studied included more than five diabetes patients (both IDDM and NIDDM) and looked at the effect of fish oil and docosahexaenoic acid on serum lipids and glucose tolerance.
Combining results from all 26 studies the researchers found a decrease in the mean triglyceride concentrations in patients who had taken fish oil. Triglycerides are fatty acids, high levels of which play a role in cardiovascular disease. Fish oil dosages varied among the studies with the most common being three grams per day. There were no harmful effects of fish oil on glycemic control reported in the studies.
The analysis, published in the April 1998 issue of Diabetes Care, also showed a slight, but significant increase in serum LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) in all the trials. These findings were predominant in patients with type 2 diabetes. Fasting blood glucose levels were increased slightly in type 2 patients but significantly lower in patients with type 1 diabetes. No significant changes in HbA1c percentages were shown in the diabetic patients in the studies.
While the authors say that clinicians may be underutilizing fish oil as a potentially beneficial treatment for hypertriglyceridemia, a major factor in cardiovascular disease and other complications of diabetes, they stress that the first approach should be maximizing the use of diet, exercise and oral agents or insulin in all diabetic patients. Fish oil supplements can then be added to lower triglyceride levels in both type 1 and type 2 patients.
0 comments - Jun 1, 1998
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