Article 36 Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Diets Prevent Start of Diabetes



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Omega-3 fatty acids have been known as heart-healthy and brain booster, that's what they have been long known for. Research has found that increased intake of them seems to reduce the risk of the body to attack the beta cells that produce insulin.

This is what the researchers at the University of Florida and the University of Colorado found out when they studied 1800 children who were at risk to develop type 1 diabetes. They published their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Type 1 diabetes has been on the rise both in Europe and in the United States during the last decades. Michael Clare-Salzler, at the University of Florida College of Medicine said that this rise matched the change in the manufacturing of foods that lowered the omega-3 fatty acids and increased the omega-6 fatty acids. He said further that the former in foods have gone down 28 times when compared from the food contents of 100 years ago.

The quality of foods we eat now is much lower than in the 1900 when the animals raised received a more balanced consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids can promote inflammation whereas the former has anti inflammatory effects.

Inflammation in the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin leads to type 1 diabetes. Studies in mice showed that preventing inflammation can stop or delay the diabetes from happening. When they studied humans they found that a higher consumption of the nutrients that prevent inflammation lowers the risk of the immune system attacking the beta cells that produce insulin.


Researchers assessed children in the study until they were on the average six years old. They asked the parents to report what these children ate and how often they ate canned tuna, lobster, shrimps, scallops, dark-meat fish like salmon and other fish.

In addition they were asked what kind of fat was used in the preparation of these foods. They took blood samples of the participants to test the presence of auto antibodies. And what they found will add to the pile of knowledge we have been learning regarding the healthy diet.

This is what they found out. Kids who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids showed a considerable reduction of risk of developing autoantibodies. This risk went down as these nutrients went up in the red blood cells. The moral of the story? Eat the seafood or take cod liver oil.

The recommendation for the diabetics is to lower the consumption of saturated fat down to 10% of calories. It is good to eliminate trans fat altogether. Get the rest of the fats from food with mono or polyunsaturated fats.

Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats are found in flaxseed, soybean oils and fish oil. Other foods that are high in the first nutrient are blue fish, tuna, sardines and lake trout. These foods will help lower triglycerides and protect the heart. As for margarine, choose one that has liquid oil like soybean and olive oils.

Knowing all these may help in the choice of foods. This choice is crucial in making preparation for healthy meals. While it is wise to have a variety of food selections to eat, it is good to include those which are rich in this nutrient. We might just prevent or delay diabetes.

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