Effects of supplementation with omega-3 on insulin sensitivity and non-esterified free fatty acid (NEFA) in type 2 diabetic patients

Arq Bras Endocrinol Metabol. 2014 Jun;58(4):335-40. doi: 10.1590/0004-2730000002861.


Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the role of omega-3 supplementation on NEFA concentration, insulin sensitivity and resistance, and glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetic patients.

Subjects and methods: Forty-four type 2 diabetic patients were randomly recruited into two groups. Group A received 4 g/day omega-3 soft gels, and group B received a placebo for 10 wks. Blood samples were collected after 12-h fast. Physical activity records, three-day food records, and anthropometric measurements were obtained from all participants at the beginning and end of the study.

Results: Omega-3 supplementation caused a significant reduction in NEFA in the intervention group compared with the placebo group (P = 0.009). Additionally, the administration of omega-3 resulted in significantly greater changes (Diff) for the intervention group in various parameters, such as insulin and Quicki indices compared with the placebo group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in type 2 diabetic patients improved insulin sensitivity, probably due to the decrease in NEFA concentrations.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / blood
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Waist Circumference


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides