New research has found that increasing omega-3 fats in one’s diet carries minimal effects at best on reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. The findings, conducted by a team of researchers at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom, appeared in the BMJ.
In past research, it was proclaimed that consuming polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish-oil could provide beneficiary effects against type 2 diabetes. However, the evidence was not sufficient enough to validate this theory.
In the current study, researchers explored the data of 121,070 participants diagnosed with diabetes and a healthy control group as part of 83 randomized control trials. In the studies, increased intake of omega-3, omega-6, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and alpha-linolenic acid, in either naturally rich foods or dietary supplements, were measured for any therapeutic effects.
Increasing omega-3 fats, even in longer durations, had minimal to no effect on the risk of type 2 diabetes or glucose metabolism, the findings showed. For the increased intake of alpha-linolenic acid and polyunsaturated fatty acids, researchers were unable to make a clear determination due to very low-quality evidence.
Missing data and the risk of bias were factors that led to inefficient findings for the study. Even upon limiting to trials with the least bias, the results remained almost the same, showing no effect on the risk of diabetes or glucose metabolism.
“This is the most extensive systematic review of trials to date to assess effects of polyunsaturated fats on newly diagnosed diabetes and glucose metabolism, including previously unpublished data following contact with authors,” according to the findings.
“Evidence suggests that increasing omega-3, omega-6, or total PUFA has little or no effect on prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.”