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Singapore Med J. 2012 Sep;53(9):615-9.

Efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on serum levels of tumour necrosis factor-alpha, C-reactive protein and interleukin-2 in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.

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Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.



Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can alter the inflammatory response in diabetic patients. This study aimed to determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on the serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin (IL)-2 and tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.


A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on 84 subjects aged 45-85 years with at least a two-year history of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Participants were randomly assigned to the treatment or control group. Each subject in the treatment group received three omega-3 capsules per day (eicosapentaenoic acid 1,548 mg; docosahexaenoic acid 828 mg; other omega-3 fatty acids 338 mg), while each subject in the control group received three placebo capsules (sunflower oil 2,100 mg) for a period of eight weeks. At the beginning of the study and post intervention, fasting blood samples were taken and serum concentrations of IL-2, TNF-α and CRP were assessed and compared.


Serum IL-2 and TNF-α levels were significantly reduced in the treatment group compared to the controls (p < 0.01). There was no significant change in serum CRP levels.


Short-term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation (3 g/day for eight weeks) can decrease the serum levels of TNF-α and IL-2 in diabetic patients, with no change in CRP levels. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acid supplements is highly recommended to alleviate inflammation caused by type 2 diabetes mellitus.

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