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Physiol Res. 2014;63 Suppl 1:S93-118.

The effect of n-3 fatty acids on glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity.

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  • 1Department of Adipose Tissue Biology, Institute of Physiology Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic. kopecky@biomed.cas.cz.

Abstract

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) as well as cardiovascular disease (CVD) represent major complications of obesity and associated metabolic disorders (metabolic syndrome). This review focuses on the effects of long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3) on insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis, which are improved by omega-3 in many animal models of metabolic syndrome, but remain frequently unaffected in humans. Here we focus on: (i) mechanistic aspects of omega-3 action, reflecting also our experiments in dietary obese mice; and (ii) recent studies analysing omega-3's effects in various categories of human subjects. Most animal experiments document beneficial effects of omega-3 on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism even under conditions of established obesity and insulin resistance. Besides positive results obtained in both cross-sectional and prospective cohort studies on healthy human populations, also some intervention studies in prediabetic subjects document amelioration of impaired glucose homeostasis by omega-3. However, the use of omega-3 to reduce a risk of new-onset diabetes in prediabetic subjects still remains to be further characterized. The results of a majority of clinical trials performed in T2D patients suggest that omega-3 have none or marginal effects on metabolic control, while effectively reducing hypertriglyceridemia in these patients. Despite most of the recent randomized clinical trials do not support the role of omega-3 in secondary prevention of CVD, this issue remains still controversial. Combined interventions using omega-3 and antidiabetic or hypolipidemic drugs should be further explored and considered for treatment of patients with T2D and other diseases.

PMID:
24564669
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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