A new study has found that fish oil supplements may help protect against type 2 diabetes by boosting levels of a hormone associated with lowering the risk of the disease.
The research, published in The Endocrine Society`s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism (JCEM), revealed that fish oil supplements, or polyunsaturated omega 3 fatty acid capsules, help raise levels of an important hormone called adiponectin in the blood.
Adiponectin is a known marker for insulin sensitivity and higher levels of the hormone have been linked to reduced risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease in previous studies.
For the latest study, Jason Wu, of the Harvard School of Public Health, and colleagues analysed data from 14 randomised controlled clinical trials, in which 682 participants were treated with fish oil supplements and 641 were given placebo for an average duration of 8 weeks.
They found that fish oil supplementation caused a significant rise in adiponectin levels, which translated into roughly a 3% lower incidence of diabetes .
But they also noted that the effects of these supplements on adiponectin levels differed considerably across the trials, suggesting that fish oil may have stronger influence on adiponectin in some populations than in others.
Lead author of the study Wu said: “Results from our study suggest that higher intake of fish oil may moderately increase blood level of adiponecti, and these results support potential benefits of fish oil consumption on glucose control and fat cell metabolism .”
The researchers added that further studies are needed to examine the effects of fish oil on other metabolic outcomes, such as inflammation, free fatty acids and insulin resistance.

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