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Omega-3s May Enhance Glucose Metabolism, Help Treat Type 1 Diabetes

First Posted: Apr 06, 2017 03:20 AM EDT
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Omega-3 fatty acids could reverse the onset of type 1 diabetes and help in treating the said condition, according to a new study. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects many children and young adults all around the globe. It is discovered that omega-3 fatty acids could help cure this autoimmune disease.

The findings of the new study were described in The Journal of Clinical Investigation. The study was led by Professor Allan Zhao of Guangdong University of Technology and other colleagues. The scientists have examined the advantages of putting omega-3 fatty acids to the diet of mice with type 1 diabetes, according to Medical News Today.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, in which the insulin-producing cells within the pancreatic islets are breaking up. It is also developed when the body could not generate insulin, which is a compound that regulates blood sugar levels.

In the study, the scientists used mice with type 1 diabetes and fed them with a regular diet and a diet that contains PUFAS. They also add omega-3s in their diets. They examine the mice every three months and checked their insulin and glucose tolerance. The team also analyzed the pancreas of mice for insulitis, which is an infiltration of lymphocytes in the islets of a pancreas that is an occurrence that leads to type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, they gathered blood from the mice and gauged their serum insulin levels.

The results showed that having omega-3s in their diet enhanced the metabolism of glucose and reduced the incidence of type 1 diabetes. There was also a decrease in pro-inflammatory cell-signaling proteins and in insulitis. In addition, the researchers also found signs of beta cell generation in the mice that had been cured with omega-3. The team concluded that omega-3 PUFAs could be a new therapy for type 1 diabetes.

Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats that are found to be beneficial in many ways. These include preventing diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and rheumatoid arthritis. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids are seafood, fatty fish like salmon, soybeans, walnuts, fish oil, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, spinach and fish roe (eggs), among others.

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