Metabolic effects of omega-3 fatty acids in type 2 (non-insulin-dependent) diabetic patients

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1993 Jun 14;683:272-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1993.tb35716.x.


The metabolic effects of a 3-week dietary supplement of a fish oil concentrate was examined in mildly obese, normotriglyceridemic men with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) treated with hypoglycemic agents (n = 20). Patients were randomized into two groups, receiving 15 ml per day of fish oil (Martens Oil, Norway) containing 3.1 g of omega-3 fatty acids (FA) (n = 10) or placebo (n = 10). Whereas fish oil led to the expected increase in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 FA in serum phospholipids, reflecting the increase in omega-3 FA intake, it did not alter fasting or mixed meal stimulated blood glucose, plasma insulin, and C-peptide concentrations. No changes in insulin action were noted, estimated by the metabolic clearance rates of glucose at plasma insulin levels of approximately 100 microU/ml and 1,400 microU/ml during a hyperinsulinemic, isoglycemic clamp; no changes were seen in insulin binding to erythrocytes. We conclude that during short-term administration, no adverse effects of low dose fish oil on glucose homeostasis were found in mildly obese NIDDM patients treated with oral hypoglycemic agents.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Glyburide / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Glyburide