Background: Many studies assessed the impact of marine omega-3 fatty acids on glycemic homeostasis and lipid profiles in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), but reported controversial results. Our goal was to systematically evaluate the effects of omega-3 on glucose control and lipid levels.
Methods: Medline, Pubmed, Cochrane Library, Embase, the National Research Register, and SIGLE were searched to identify eligible randomized clinical trials (RCTs). Extracted data from RCTs were analyzed using STATA 11.0 statistical software with fixed or random effects model. Effect sizes were presented as weighted mean differences (WMD) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Heterogeneity was assessed using the Chi-square test with significance level set at p < 0.1.
Results: 20 RCT trials were included into this meta-analysis. Among patients with omega-3 supplementation, triglyceride (TG) levels were significantly decreased by 0.24 mmol/L. No marked change in total cholesterol (TC), HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose, postprandial plasma glucose, BMI or body weight was observed. High ratio of EPA/DHA contributed to a greater decreasing tendency in plasma insulin, HbAc1, TC, TG, and BMI measures, although no statistical significance was identified (except TG). FPG levels were increased by 0.42 mmol/L in Asians. No evidence of publication bias was observed in this meta-analysis.
Conclusions: The ratio of EPA/DHA and early intervention with omega 3 fatty acids may affect their effects on glucose control and lipid levels, which may serve as a dietary reference for clinicians or nutritionists who manage diabetic patients.