Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a major health concern in the United States. Estimates reveal 18.3 million adults have diagnosed diabetes, and an additional of 7.1 million adults have no idea they have developed the life-altering disease. Moreover, about 81.5 million have metabolic syndrome, or pre-diabetes.
The growing prevalence of obesity is strongly associated with low-grade systemic inflammation, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and diabetes, and lifestyle factors including one’s diet. Evidence has shown people who regularly eat oily fish, rich in n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LcPUFAs) such as eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there is a lack of research examining the impact of n-3 PUFA-containing botanical oils on T2D.
To help find answers to this question, Floyd Chilton from the Department of Physiology/Pharmacology, Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem and colleagues, examined 59 patients with early stage T2D or metabolic syndrome. The patients participated in an 8-week, randomized, single blind, parallel intervention study to assess the efficacy of PUFA-containing oils. Participants were given corn oil (CO), a botanical oil (BO) combination or fish oil (FO). The study entitled “The impact of polyunsaturated fatty acid-based dietary supplements on disease biomarkers in a metabolic syndrome/diabetes population,” was recently published in the journal Lipids in Health and Disease.
The researchers assessed the participants at baseline, and again after the 8 weeks of intervention, and determined the participants’ levels of serum fatty acids, triglycerides, total HDL, total LDL cholesterol, leptin, and C-reactive protein, and glucose regulation. The study’s primary endpoint is to verify the increase of PUFAs from each of the three oil types (CO vs. BO vs. FO).
Results revealed that after 8 weeks of intervention, the participants in the CO arm showed no differences in their serum lipids, markers of inflammation or glucose regulation. However, the participants who took BO were found to have lowered total and LDL cholesterol levels. Lastly, the participants in the FO arm were found to have reduced serum triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c and increased HDL-cholesterol.
With these results, the team of researchers concluded that a short-term dietary supplementation with botanical oil combination or fish oil may be able to improve the biomarkers that are associated with Type 2 Diabetes or metabolic syndrome.