Diabetes is an awful lot like a bull in a china shop. It charges around your body creating all kinds of collateral damage such as harm to your nerves and kidney damage.
But one of the most devastating complications of the disease is an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by poorly controlled blood sugar. Diabetic retinopathy leads to damage to the blood vessels at the back of your eye.
The condition can start off with relatively mild symptoms such as floaters or blurriness. But as it progresses, your color perception can suffer and dark spots can start to appear in your vision.
But that’s not even the worst of it because, eventually, diabetic retinopathy can cause complete blindness.
Diabetic retinopathy cases may double by 2050!
Unfortunately, scientists say that the diabetes epidemic is far from over. In fact, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care projected that between the years 2000 and 2050 we should expect to see a 165 percent increase in cases of the disease!1
In other words, a whole lot of folks are at risk for diabetes complications including diabetic retinopathy. So it should come as no surprise that we saw an 89 percent jump in cases—from 4.06 million to 7.69 million—between 2000 and 2010. Or that experts say we can expect that number to almost double between 2010 and 2050.2
In fact, another study, published just this month in Diabetes Care, declared diabetes as one of the top causes of vision loss around the world.3
That’s why a new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology is so exiting. It turns out scientists have uncovered an incredibly simple way to send your risk for diabetic retinopathy plunging. If you or someone you care about has type 2 diabetes this is news you can’t afford to miss!
Omega-3’s linked to 48% drop in diabetic retinopathy risk
According to researchers, a measly 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids a week could slash your risk of diabetic retinopathy by an incredible 48 percent! In other words, just two servings of a cold water oily fish—which are packed with healthy omega-3 containing fats—will do it.4,5,6
Just be sure to choose wild-caught, sustainable, U.S. fish whenever possible, which should be lower in cancer-linked PCBs than farmed varieties, and you can be sure haven’t been regularly exposed to pesticides or antibiotics.7
Plus, because wild-caught fish feast on smaller fish in the wild, which are high in EPA and DHA, that means they may be higher in those all-important omega-3’s.8
Some good cold water fish options include…
Omega-3’s benefits far outweigh mercury concerns
Pregnant or breastfeeding women or small children should, of course, avoid eating too much fish because of the heavy metal mercury that’s often found in seafood. And specifically avoid eating tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico as well as swordfish and king mackerel.
However, if you don’t fall into those groups there’s no need to be overly concerned, simply realistically cautious. Not only do the omega-3 benefits typically far outweigh any potential exposure, a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association earlier this year found that although mercury levels were a bit higher in brains of subjects tested, the mercury didn’t lead to any neurological problems.
In fact, it was quite the opposite. The folks who were regular fish eaters had less signs of Alzheimer’s-linked beta amyloid plaques.9
Also, keep in mind if you’re not a fish fan, or you do still have concerns about the heavy metals in seafood, a high-quality, purified, omega-3 supplement with DHA is another great option.
1. “Projection of Diabetes Burden Through 2050: Impact of changing demography and disease prevalence in the U.S.,” Diabetes Care 2001 Nov; 24(11): 1936-1940.
2. “Diabetic Retinopathy,” NIH National Eye Institute
3. “Global Estimates on the Number of People Blind or Visually Impaired by Diabetic Retinopathy: A meta-analysis from 1990-2010,” Diabetes Care, August 23, 2016
4. “Dietary Marine ω-3 Fatty Acids and Incident Sight-Threatening Retinopathy in Middle-Aged and Older Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes,” JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 18, 2016.
5. “Eat Your Fish or Go for Nuts,” JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online August 18, 2016.
6. “Greater intake of dietary omega-3 fatty acids associated with lower risk of diabetic retinopathy among individuals with type 2 diabetes,” Medical News Today, Accessed 8.19.2016
7. “Global Assessment of Organic Contaminants in Farmed Salmon,” Science 09 Jan 2004: Vol. 303, Issue 5655, pp. 226-229
8. “What you need to know about farm-raised vs. wild-caught fish,” WTOP. Rachel Nania, June 2, 2015, Accessed 8.19.2016
9. “Association of Seafood Consumption, Brain Mercury Level, and APOE ε4 Status With Brain Neuropathology in Older Adults,” JAMA. 2016;315(5)
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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