I could hear it in her voice. Something was wrong.
It had been several months since I’d last talked to my college friend Sheryl. And sometime during those months she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
But Sheryl isn’t feeling sorry for herself. Just the opposite — she’s taking action.
She and her husband have worked together to change their diets. And they’ve turned a guest-bedroom into a mini-gym, with a couple of treadmills and an HD television. (The HD is an important element — it lures them in every evening.)
When we talked a little about medications and supplements, I mentioned how important omega-3 fatty acids can be for diabetics. And here’s where she floored me.
She said her doctor told her not to bother with omega-3 supplements because, “Those are mostly for old people.”
Old people!? It was everything I could do keep from shouting!
But I didn’t shout. I kept my voice on an even keel and told her that, with all due respect to her doctor, he was completely wrong.
Omega-3 fatty acids linked to reduced risk of diabetes
If you’re a type 2 diabetic, or if you’re at risk and want to avoid diabetes, the evidence that clearly shows the importance of omega-3 fatty acids.
In a study from Harvard, researchers took blood samples from about 3,000 subjects and measured omega-3 levels. When the results were compared to diabetic status, they found that higher levels of the two key omega-3 fatty acids — EPA and DHA — were linked to reduced risk of diabetes.
More importantly, risk was lowest in those with the highest o-3 levels.
The reason for this is simple: EPA and DHA help your cell membranes manage insulin. Here’s how…
Fat tissue contains an abundance of macrophages — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses, bacteria, and other junk that has to be removed from your cells.
But this is a classic case of too much of a good thing.
The macrophages do their work by producing proteins that burn off the junk with inflammation. Too much body fat creates a flood of those proteins, which happen to promote insulin resistance. Chronic inflammation just makes the situation worse.
Inflammation is reduced and insulin sensitivity improves
Last year, researchers at the University of California identified an important macrophage receptor in cells. They found that when the receptor is activated, excessive inflammation is reduced and insulin sensitivity improves.
And what switches on the receptor?
You know it: EPA and DHA.
And this basic biology pertains to young and old alike. So any idea that omega-3 supplements are mostly for the elderly is just plain wrong.
One important note: Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids, so they promote free-radical formation. As Dr. Spreen has noted, that threat is easily taken care of with a daily vitamin E supplement — 400 IU, ideally with mixed tocopherols.
Jenny Thompson is the Director of the Health Sciences Institute and editor of the HSI e-Alert. Through HSI, she and her team uncover important health information and expose ridiculous health misinformation, most notably through the HSI e-Alert.
Visit www.hsionline.com to sign up for the free HSI e-Alert.
Latest posts by Jenny Thompson (see all)
- Warning: Scam artists trying to con you out of cash! - October 12, 2016
- Daily 10 minute ritual slashes risk of 5 deadly conditions - October 10, 2016
- Is it safe to eat? Figuring out food expiration dates - October 2, 2016