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PLoS One. 2020 Feb 11;15(2):e0228315. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228315. eCollection 2020.

The effects of omega-3 fatty acids on diabetic nephropathy: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

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Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States of America.
Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, United States of America.
Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.



To evaluate the effects of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on proteinuria, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and metabolic biomarkers among patients with diabetes.


Meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs).


Patients with diabetes.


We conducted electronic searches in PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from January 1960 to April 2019 to identify RCTs, which examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on proteinuria, eGFR and metabolic biomarkers among diabetic patients.


Ten RCTs with 344 participants were included in our meta-analysis. Omega-3 fatty acids reduced the amount of proteinuria among type 2 diabetes mellitus (type 2 DM) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (type 1 DM). This association was only significant among type 2 DM (SMD = -0.29 (95% CI: -0.54, -0.03; p = 0.03). Only studies with duration of intervention of 24 weeks or longer demonstrated a significant lower proteinuria among omega-3 fatty acids compared to control group (SMD = -0.30 (95% CI: -0.58, -0.02; p = 0.04). There was a higher eGFR for both type 1 and type 2 DM groups among omega-3 fatty acids compared to control group, however, the effect was not statistically significant. Regarding serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and HbA1C, there was no significant difference comparing omega-3 fatty acids to control group. There was a non-significant systolic blood pressure reduction in the omega-3 fatty acids supplementation group compared to control.


Omega-3 fatty acids could help ameliorate proteinuria among type 2 DM who received omega-3 supplementation for at least 24 weeks without adverse effects on HbA1C, total serum cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol.

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