Study On Omega 3 Fatty Acids Point At A Possible Cure For Diabetes

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“A study on omega 3 fatty acids points at a possible cure for diabetes”; is indeed sweet news for those who straddle restricted living and demanding resources. Diabetes, as a degenerating condition; striking both the young and the old, threatens to be pandemic, engulfing mankind into an abyss with no hope for cure.


Researchers at the Santiago School of Medicine, University of California, have discovered that omega 3 fatty acids are effective in reducing insulin resistance and also chronic inflammation associated with diabetes. More than 23 million Americans suffer from Diabetes and other related disorders. So the research can be a medical breakthrough in finding a cure for the debilitating condition.


Before we proceed, lets take a short peek into the condition called diabetes, how it strikes.

Diabetes results from hyperglycemia or heightened blood glucose levels. The glucose in the body is not utilized by the body cells because of either low secretion of the insulin hormone or an increased cell resistance to it, with the result that it passes out in the urine. The body has glucose but that, which is unusable- which can prove hazardous, making it imperative to find a sustainable cure for diabetes.

How omega 3 fatty acids trace a cure for diabetes? – The Research

Typically, “the brainy guy” omega 3 fatty acids are usually associated with the brain components. Scientists involved in the research team identified a macrophage-receptor-activator in omega 3 fatty acids, which curbed inflammation and improved insulin activity.
Macrophages are specialized white blood cells, which clear out cellular wastes and pathogens, functioning as a part of the immune system. Now, macrophages in the process of their operation, release a set of proteins, and also cause inflammation – a method to destroy the harmful cells. One of these proteins is cytokines, which can increase insulin resistance. As obesity and diabetes are closely related, macrophages are found in high amounts in obese fatty tissues and therefore there is chronic inflammation, with a higher number of cells exposed to cytokines.

Coming back to our question on omega 3 fatty acids with a potential cell-activator, the research team studied cellular receptors responsive to fatty acids and zeroed in on the G-protein receptor (GPR120). The G-protein receptor was found only in pro-inflammatory macrophages in mature fat cells, which was found to trigger anti-inflammatory effects. With the receptor switched off the macrophages triggered inflammation and, when on, anti-inflammatory signals were sent.

At the same time, it was discovered that on exposing these macrophages to omega 3 fatty acids, specifically the ocosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), the G-protein receptor was activated curbing the inflammatory response.

Omega 3 fatty acids, cure for Diabetes and the next level of Research

The research team took their experiment to the next level from lab cell cultures to mice, with some of them genetically modified by removing the G-protein receptor. Divided into two groups, with omega 3 fatty acid supplements and the other without the supplements, both the mice were put on a high fat diet. The ones with the omega 3 fatty acids supplements showed increased insulin sensitivity whereas the second group of mice maintained the same constitution of insulin activity.

The research also clearly proves that including fish enriched with omega 3 fatty acids as part of the regular diet can significantly act to increase insulin sensitivity and trigger anti-inflammatory response. However, as regards the optimum dosage of fish oil, without crossing the border of safety, there is more research to be done. But the impetus is sure to carry forward the research to the next significant discovery and application.

The study has been published in the September 2010 issue of the journal “Cell”.

The findings of the research  opens up another avenue to find a cure for diabetes and other conditions where chronic inflammation is evident as in obesity , cardiovascular diseases and even certain types of cancer, thus giving mankind the hope to sustain a healthy living.


Photo Courtesy: topnews.in

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