May 23, 2013
Daily Dose Of Fish Oil May Reduce Risk Of Diabetes, Heart Disease
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
The use of fish oil supplements has been linked to a moderate increase in production of a hormone that has in turn been associated with a decreased risk of some forms of diabetes and heart disease, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) report in a new study.
The supplements, which are also known as omega-3 fatty acid capsules, increase levels of the hormone adiponectin in a patient´s bloodstream. According to the researchers, adiponectin has a key role in several metabolic processes, including glucose regulation and modulation of inflammation; and long-term human studies have found a correlation between higher levels of the hormone and a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
“While prior animal studies found fish oil increased circulating adiponectin, whether similar effects apply in humans is not established,” lead author Jason Wu, a research associate in the university´s epidemiology department, said in a statement. “By reviewing evidence from existing randomized clinical trials, we found that fish oil supplementation caused modest increases in adiponectin in the blood of humans.”
Wu and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis, reviewing and analyzing results from more than a dozen randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. In those studies, a total of 682 participants were provided with fish oil while 641 were given placebos (in most cases, olive and sunflower oils).
Adiponectin levels increased by 0.37 ug/mL in subjects who took fish oil, the researchers discovered. Furthermore, the results suggested that the effect of the supplement on the hormone varied substantially across different trials.
This discovery led Wu´s team to believe that fish oil´s effect on adiponectin could be stronger in some populations and weaker in others. The study is the first to gather data from past research to suggest that fish oil consumption increased adiponectin production in humans, the authors noted, adding that their findings demonstrate the need to investigate whether or not specific groups of people benefit from taking omega-3 supplements.
“Although higher levels of adiponectin in the bloodstream have been linked to lower risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease, whether fish oil influences glucose metabolism and development of type 2 diabetes remains unclear,” Wu explained.
“However, results from our study suggest that higher intake of fish oil may moderately increase blood level of adiponectin, and these results support potential benefits of fish oil consumption on glucose control and fat cell metabolism,” he added.