Effects of krill oil on endothelial function and other cardiovascular risk factors in participants with type 2 diabetes, a randomized controlled trial

BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care. 2015 Oct 14;3(1):e000107. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000107. eCollection 2015.


Objective: The purpose of this trial was to evaluate the effect of krill oil supplementation, a source of ω-3 fatty acids, on cardiovascular disease risk factors and blood glucose control among participants with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: A randomized, double-blind controlled cross-over trial was employed. Outcomes assessed were: endothelial function, blood lipids, glucose, glycated hemoglobin, serum antioxidant level, C peptide, and calculated Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) scores. Participants were randomized to either krill oil or olive oil supplementation for 4 weeks, underwent a 2-week washout period, and then crossed to the other supplementation for 4 weeks. All participants were then offered an additional 17 weeks of krill supplementation. Testing occurred at 3 time points: baseline, after first supplementation, and after second supplementation. Testing also occurred after an optional 17 weeks of krill oil supplementation. Difference scores were calculated for each participant in both sequences (ie, differences in outcome measures in the first and second period of the sequence). The mean and SD of the scores in the 2 sequence groups were used to test for differences between treatment effects at a significance level of p<0.05.

Results: A total of 47 participants were included in the initial cross-over study. Participants who received krill oil for 4 weeks had an improvement in their endothelial function and a reduction in blood C peptide levels and HOMA scores as compared with the olive oil. A total of 34 participants completed the additional 17-week supplementation period. When compared with their respective baseline measures, these participants had a statistically significant improvement in endothelial function and blood high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

Conclusions: Krill oil may lead to moderate improvement of cardiovascular risks, specifically endothelial dysfunction and HDL in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Trial registration number: Registered with ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02091193.

Keywords: Cardiovascular Risk Factors; Endothelium Function; Omega-3 Fatty Acids; Type 2 Diabetes.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02091193