Effect of omega-3 fish oil on cardiovascular risk in diabetes


Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are major public health concerns worldwide and are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Diet has a substantial affect on the progression of many diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids [LC-PUFA]) have long been attributed to the maintenance of health and may be of benefit in reducing cardiovascular risk. The purpose of this review is to investigate the possible roles of omega-3 in reducing cardiovascular risk in patients with diabetes.


A literature search was conducted from the Medline, EBSCO, and EMBASE databases. Articles that addressed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or omega-3 were included.


Reviews and studies reported an association with fish and omega-3 LC-PUFA consumption and decreased total cardiovascular mortality (approximately 15%-19%), along with decreased platelet activation and aggregation, improved lipid profiles, including reduction of triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), decreased inflammation, and lowered blood pressure.


Diets higher in fish and omega-3 LC-PUFA may reduce cardiovascular risk in diabetes by inhibiting platelet aggregation, improving lipid profiles, and reducing cardiovascular mortality. Fish and omega-3 LC-PUFA can be recommended to people with diabetes and included into a diabetes management program.

McEwen B, Morel-Kopp MC, Tofler G, Ward C. Effect of omega-3 fish oil on cardiovascular risk in diabetes. Diabetes Educ. 2010 Jul-Aug;36(4):565-84. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20534874)

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