Objective: To examine the effects on blood lipids and glycemic control of fish oil and corn oil supplementation at two levels in subjects with hyperlipidemia and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
Research design and methods: Forty subjects (18 men and 22 women; aged 53.9 +/- 7.0 years) with NIDDM and hyperlipidemia were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups: 9 g of fish oil, 18 g of fish oil, 9 g of corn oil, or 18 g of corn oil daily supplementation for 12 weeks.
Results: The level of oil supplements (9 g compared with 18 g) did not have a significant effect within each oil group on glycemic control and lipids. Significant differences (P < 0.05) in lipids were found when the 9-g and 18-g groups were combined. In subjects consuming fish oil, plasma very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol (P = 0.0001), plasma triglyceride (TG) (P = 0.0001), and plasma VLDL TGs (P = 0.02 at 6 weeks and P = 0.0001 at 12 weeks) were significantly lowered compared with subjects consuming corn oil. Plasma VLDL cholesterol increased across time in the corn oil group (P = 0.04). Plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol was temporarily increased (P = 0.008) in the fish oil group at 6 weeks, but the effect was no longer present at 12 weeks. No significant differences between fish oil- or corn oil-supplemented diets were found in total plasma cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, glycosylated HbA1c, weight, and blood pressure.
Conclusions: In this study, fish oil supplementation improved plasma VLDL cholesterol, VLDL TGs, and total TGs while having a transient deterioration in LDL cholesterol in subjects with NIDDM. Furthermore, fish oil supplementation had no significant deleterious effect on glycemic control.