Effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on insulin metabolism and lipid profiles in gestational diabetes: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Clin Nutr. 2015 Jun;34(3):388-93. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jun 17.


Background & aims: We are aware of no study that examined the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on insulin metabolism and lipid profiles in gestational diabetes (GDM). This study was designed to assess the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on insulin concentrations and lipid profiles among pregnant women with GDM.

Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was performed among 56 women with GDM. Subjects were randomly assigned to receive either 1000 mg omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing 180 mg eicosapentaenoic acid and 120 mg docosahexanoic acid (n = 28) or placebo (n = 28) for 6 weeks. Fasting blood samples were taken at study baseline and after 6 weeks of intervention to quantify biochemical variables.

Results: Although omega-3 fatty acid supplementation did not led to a significant change in serum insulin levels and HOMA-IR in omega-3 fatty acid group, we found a significant difference in changes in serum insulin levels (change from baseline: -1.5 ± 7.5 vs. +3.5 ± 8.5 μIU/mL, P = 0.02) and HOMA-IR (-0.4 ± 2.1 vs. +1.1 ± 2.4, P = 0.02) comparing the two groups. Furthermore, a significant reduction in serum high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels was seen after omega-3 fatty acid supplementation compared with placebo (-236.3 ± 1541.9 vs. 898.6 ± 2292.7 ng/mL, P = 0.03). Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation did not influence fasting plasma glucose, homeostatic model assessment-Beta cell function (HOMA-B), quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) and lipid profiles.

Conclusions: Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in GDM women had beneficial effects on insulin resistance, however, it did not affect plasma glucose, HOMA-B, QUICKI and lipid profiles. Clinical registration number: www.irct.ir as IRCT201312265623N16.

Keywords: Gestational diabetes; Omega-3 fatty acid; Pregnant women; Supplementation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Iran
  • Pregnancy
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT201312265623N16