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Br J Nutr. 2008 May;99(5):1041-7. Epub 2007 Nov 1.

Fish oil attenuates adrenergic overactivity without altering glucose metabolism during an oral glucose load in haemodialysis patients.

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  • 1Laboratoire Régional de Nutrition Humaine & EA-948 Oxylipides, CHU Cavale Blanche, Brest, France.


Haemodialysis patients display an increased cardiac mortality, which may be partly related to increased sympathoadrenal activity and insulin resistance. Fish oil decreases adrenal activation induced by mental stress and has an insulin sensitizing effect in healthy subjects. Whole-body glucose metabolism after oral glucose was studied in eight haemodialysis patients before and after a 3-week oral fish oil supplementation (i.e. EPA + DHA at 1.8 g/d). Plasma glucose fluxes were traced by using [6,6- (2)H2]glucose infusion. Substrate oxidation was determined by using indirect calorimetry. Each patient was studied in the basal state and over the 6 h following absorption of a 1 g/kg glucose load. Energy expenditure in response to glucose re-increased over the last 2 h of the experiment (P < 0.05), which coincided with an increase in plasma catecholamines, especially epinephrine (P < 0.05), strongly suggesting a sympathoadrenal overactivity. Fish oil supplementation blunted both re-increase in thermogenic response and concomitant increase in plasma epinephrine, but not in plasma norepinephrine, over the last 2 h of the experiment. Fish oil did not alter either whole-body glucose metabolism or substrate oxidation. These data show that in haemodialysis patients, fish oil attenuates adrenal overactivity induced by oral glucose but does not modulate whole-body glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity.

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