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Can omega-3s support healthy blood sugar?

by Barlean's on June 06, 2016

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Few things can affect how you feel physically as much as your blood sugar. Having balanced blood sugar gives you steady energy, helps you stay trim, and protects your heart and blood vessels. A handful of healthy habits, such as getting regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, support healthy blood sugar. And now you can add taking an omega-3 supplement to that list, according to the results of a new study.

In a healthy body, your blood sugar dips when it’s time to eat and then rises steadily after a meal. Your body secretes insulin to act as a sort of blood sugar taxi, transporting glucose from your blood to your cells.

 When your blood sugar rises rapidly — as it does in response to both high-carb and high-fat meals — your pancreas gets alarmed, because all that sugar is bad news for your blood vessels. So it secretes a hefty dose of insulin to clean all that glucose out of your blood. That’s okay every once in a while.

 Unfortunately, many Americans abuse this system, regularly eating high-fat and high-sugar meals. And over time, their bodies develop a tolerance to insulin the way an alcoholic develops a tolerance to alcohol.

 So it’s good to know that, according to a study published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, omega-3 fatty acids support the body’s ability to use insulin effectively.*[i]

 Researchers gave 167 subjects either an omega-3 supplement or a placebo to take three times a day with meals for six months. They found that omega-3s increased participants’ ability to metabolize fatty food.* Specifically, folks who had been taking omega-3 supplements had better insulin sensitivity in response to a single high-fat meal than those who had been taking placebos.*

 You can get omega-3s through fatty fish, as well as vegetarian sources such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. The easiest, most potent way to get your omega-3s, though, is through a fish oil or flax oil supplement.

 * This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.

 References:

[i] Derosa G, et al. Eur J Lipid Sci Tech. 2011 Aug;113(8):950-60.

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