Increased omega-3 fatty acid intake lowers type 1 diabetes risk
The September 26, 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the discovery of researchers at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, Denver that greater intake of omega-3 fatty acids has a positive effect on the prevention of the development of type 1 diabetes in children. Type 1 diabetes is caused by pancreatic islet autoimmunity, which results in destruction of beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, causing in an elevation in blood sugar. Cod liver oil given in infancy had previously been found to be associated with a protective effect against the development of childhood diabetes, however, it was not known whether the oil’s vitamin D or fatty acid content were responsible for the benefit.
Jill M. Norris, MPH, PhD and colleagues examined the effect of omega fatty acids in 1,770 children determined to be at risk of type 1 diabetes by a genetic marker or by having a first degree relative with the disease. Dietary questionnaires concerning food consumed by the children during the previous year were completed yearly by the children’s mothers and analyzed for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid intake. The children were followed from one year of age to an average of 6.2 years. Islet autoimmunity was determined by testing for insulin, glutamic acid decarboxylase, or insulinoma-associated antigen-2 autoantibodies on two consecutive study visits, and being positive for autoantibodies or having diabetes at the last visit.
At the end of the study, 58 children had developed pancreatic islet autoimmunity. After adjusting for factors such as calorie consumption, the research team found a significantly lower risk of developing islet autoimmunity associated with increased total omega-3 fatty acid intake. When islet autoimmunity was limited to those with two or more autoantibodies, the risk was further lowered. Omega-6 intake was not associated with islet autoimmunity risk.
In a separate study of 244 children whose erythrocyte (red blood cell) membrane fatty acid content was measured, in which 35 participants developed diabetes, higher omega-3 content was also found to be associated with a lower risk of islet autoimmunity.
“Our data suggest that ingestion of omega-3 fatty acids throughout childhood may decrease the risk of islet autoimmunity,” the authors write. Commenting on the recent establishment of a clinical trial designed to evaluate the hypothesis that supplementation with the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in utero and infancy will help prevent the development of islet autoimmunity in infants at risk for diabetes, they conclude, “If this trial confirms this hypothesis, dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids could become a mainstay for early intervention to safely prevent the development of type 1 diabetes.”
Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is an autoimmune condition that occurs when the body attacks and destroys the cells (called beta cells) that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5 to 10 percent of cases. Because type 1 diabetics can no longer make insulin, insulin replacement therapy is essential.
Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes, occurs when the body is no longer able to use insulin effectively and gradually becomes resistant to its effects. It is a slowly progressing disease that goes through identifiable stages. In the early stages of diabetes, both insulin and glucose levels are elevated (conditions called hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia, respectively). In the later stages, insulin levels are reduced, and blood glucose levels are very elevated. Although few people are aware of this crucial distinction, therapy for type 2 diabetes should be tailored to the stage of the disease.
In human experiments, omega-3 fatty acids lowered blood pressure and triglyceride levels, thereby relieving many of the complications associated with diabetes. In animals, omega-3 fatty acids cause less weight gain than other fats do; they have also been shown to have a neutral effect on LDL, while raising HDL and lowering triglycerides (Petersen M et al 2002).
Life Extension Vacations
Spend a week in Cancún with your family and friends and enjoy spacious villa accommodation in a spectacular beachfront setting at Club Internacional de Cancún. This five-star resort is located a stone’s throw from shopping malls, golf courses, restaurants, bars and more. Your family will enjoy the services at Club Internacional de Cancún, which include two pools, tennis courts, an activity program for adults and children, sail boating, a restaurant, bar, convenience store, tour desk and car rental. Guests can also enjoy the facilities at the other Royal Resorts by hopping on the free inter-resort shuttle bus. Your fully equipped two-bedroom villa sleeps five and has a kitchen, a spacious living and dining area and a private terrace.
Save $50** on your airfare to Cancun when you book through Life Extension Vacations!
Our representatives will also be glad to assist you with your transfers or car rental in Cancún.
* Rate is per villa per week and includes all resort taxes. This special rate is based on type B villas (accommodates five). Type C units are not included in this promotion (accommodation for six). Promotion is subject to availability.
If you have questions or comments concerning this issue or past issues of Life Extension Update, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954 202 7716.
For longer life,
Sign up for Life Extension Update at http://mycart.lef.org/Memberships/NewsSubscription.aspx
Help spread the good news about living longer and healthier. Forward this email to a friend!
View previous issues of Life Extension Update in the Newsletter Archive.