A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial Investigating the Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Vitamin E Co-Supplementation on Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Pregnancy Outcomes in Gestational Diabetes

Can J Diabetes. 2017 Apr;41(2):143-149. doi: 10.1016/j.jcjd.2016.09.004. Epub 2016 Nov 21.


Objectives: Limited data are available for assessing the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E co-supplementation on metabolic profiles and pregnancy outcomes in gestational diabetes (GDM). This study was designed to determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E co-supplementation on biomarkers of oxidative stress, inflammation and pregnancy outcomes in women with GDM.

Methods: This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted in 60 patients with GDM who were not taking oral hypoglycemic agents. Patients were randomly allocated to intake either 1000 mg omega-3 fatty acids from flaxseed oil plus 400 IU vitamin E supplements (n=30) or placebo (n=30) for 6 weeks. Fasting blood samples were obtained from the women at the beginning of the study and after the 6-week intervention to quantify related markers.

Results: After 6 weeks of intervention, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E co-supplementation, compared with the placebo, resulted in a significant rise in total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (+187.5±224.9 vs. -32.5±136.1 mmol/L; p<0.001); nitric oxide (NO) (+5.0±7.7 vs. -12.0±28.0 µmol/L; p=0.002) and a significant decrease in plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) concentrations (-0.1±0.9 vs. +0.6±1.4 µmol/L; p=0.03). Co-supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E showed no detectable changes in plasma glutathione and serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels. Joint omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E supplementation resulted in lower incidences of hyperbilirubinemia in newborns (10.3% vs. 33.3%; p=0.03).

Conclusions: Overall, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E co-supplementation for 6 weeks in women with GDM had beneficial effects on plasma TAC, MDA and NO and on the incidence of the newborns' hyperbilirubinemia.

Keywords: acides gras oméga-3; diabète gestationnel; femmes enceintes; gestational diabetes; omega-3 fatty acids; pregnant women; supplementation; supplémentation; vitamin E; vitamine E.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / drug therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Vitamin E
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Glutathione