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Omega-3 may boost kidney health in diabetics: Study

By Stephen Daniells , 03-Feb-2010

Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may improve the kidney health of diabetics, say results of a double-blind placebo-controlled trial from Hong Kong.

Kidney function is often evaluated by measuring creatine levels, with high levels indicative of damage to the functioning of nephrons in the kdiney. The new study reports that omega-3 supplementation led to significant decreases in diabetics, suggesting a potential benefit in this population group at increased risk of kidney disease.

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong report their findings in the journal Diabetic Medicine.

“Our results showed a significant decrease in serum creatinine level after fish-oil supplement in Type 2 diabetes mellitus patients,” stated the researcher. “Prior studies have [also] suggested that fish-oil supplement has renoprotective effects in diabetes mellitus,” they added.

However, no benefits to vascular vessel function was observed, nor where there any changes in metabolic profiles, blood pressure, or markers of inflammation or oxidative stress following 12 weeks of supplementation with omega-3-rich fish oil.

Study details

The Hong Kong-based scientists recruited 97 people with type-2 diabetics and randomly assigned them to received either fish oil (four grams per day providing 42 per cent EPA and 25 per cent DHA, Squina International Group, Hong Kong) or placebo (olive oil) for 12 weeks.

“The specific dosage of 4 g per day for 12 weeks was chosen because previous studies have shown that fish oil or its component at this dosage effectively lowers triglyceride levels without significant side effects,” explained the researchers.

At the end of the study, the only measurable differences between the groups were for creatinine levels, which were significantly lower in the fish-oil group.

Despite the significant differences, the researchers noted that the findings should be interpreted with caution, and called for future prospective clinical studies to confirm the findings of this study.

Diabetes stats

An estimated 19 million people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25, equal to four per cent of the total population. This figure is projected to increase to 26 million by 2030.

In the US, there are almost 24 million people with diabetes, equal to 8 per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $174 billion, with $116 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2005-2007 American Diabetes Association figures.

Source: Diabetic Medicine
Volume 27, Issue 1, Pages: 54-60
“Fish-oil supplement has neutral effects on vascular and metabolic function but improves renal function in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus”
Authors: C.-Y. Wong, K.-H. Yiu, S.-W. Li, S. Lee, S. Tam, C.-P. Lau, H.-F. Tse

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