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Mar 17, 2014

Fish Omega-3s Help Reduce Type 2 Diabetes Risk

High concentrations of serum long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a recently published Finnish study.

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly widespread throughout the world, including Finland. Being over-weight is the most significant risk factor in developing the condition. Earlier research has established that weight management, exercise and high serum linoleic acid concentrations are associated with reduced risk of diabetes. 

Findings on how fish consumption or long-chain omega-3 fatty acids affect the risk of diabetes have been highly contradictory.  A protective link has mainly been observed in Asian populations, whereas a similar link has not been observed in European or U.S studies- and some studies have even linked high consumption of fish to increased risk for diabetes.

An ongoing study at the University of Eastern Finland determined the serum omega-3 fatty acid concentrations of 2,212 men between 42 and 60 years of age at the onset of the study, in 1984-89.  During a follow-up of 19.3 years, 422 men were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Serum long-chain omega-3 acid concentrations were used to divide the subjects into four categories.  The risk of men with the highest serum omega-3 fatty acid concentration in devev was 33 percent lower than the risk of men with the lowest concentration.

This study reinforced the connection between fish consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes and backs the notion that a well balanced diet should include at least two meals of fish per week, preferably fatty fish such at salmon, rainbow trout, anchovy, sardine, and mackerel. 

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