Omega-3 supplementation boosts glucose and lipid metabolism in women with gestational diabetes


China: Omega-3 supplementation in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can reduce inflammatory factors and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) levels, reduce insulin resistance, and enhance blood lipid metabolism, a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials has shown.

The research was published online in the April 2023 issue of the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.

Gestational diabetes is an impairment of glucose tolerance and insulin resistance that begins during pregnancy. Its estimated prevalence is 14.0 %, making it one of the most pregnancy complications harmful to the fetus and the mother. Insulin resistance is closely linked with glucose metabolism disorder in gestational diabetes. Pregnant women affected by GDM are at a much higher risk of type 2 diabetes and pre-eclampsia development, and eventually, 70% of these women develop diabetes after 22–28 years of delivery.

Omega-3 (omega-3 fatty acid) is a polyunsaturated fatty acid mainly containing docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid from marine organisms, and α-linolenic acid. Omega-3 has received a lot of attention due to its several biological actions. One randomized controlled trial showed that omega-3 supplementation of 1000 mg/day improved insulin resistance in GDM patients without affecting lipid and glucose metabolism. Another study showed that omega-3 supplementation could improve lipid and blood glucose levels in GDM.

The effect of omega-3 supplementation on lipid and blood glucose metabolism is unknown in GDM patients. To fill this knowledge gap, Weixia Liu, First Hospital of Jilin University, Jilin, China, and colleagues assessed whether omega-3 supplementation could improve lipid and glucose metabolism, inflammatory factors, and insulin resistance in women with gestational diabetes mellitus in a meta-study.

The researchers used a fixed-effects or random-effects meta-analysis model for analyzing the mean differences (MD) before and after omega-3 and placebo supplementation, thus assessing the effects of omega-3 on lipid and glucose metabolism, inflammatory factors, and insulin resistance.

The study led to the following findings:

  • The meta-analysis included six randomized controlled trials comprising 331 participants.
  • The levels of fasting plasma glucose (WMD = −0.25 mmol/L), fasting insulin (WMD = −17.13 pmol/L), and homeostasis model of assessment-insulin resistance (WMD = −0.51) were lower in the omega-3 group than their levels in the placebo group.
  • The results of lipid metabolism analysis revealed that triglycerides (WMD = −0.18 mmol/L) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (WMD = −0.1 mmol/L) decreased in the omega-3 group. In comparison, there was an increase in high-density lipoproteins (WMD = 0.06 mmol/L).
  • There was a decrease in inflammatory factor serum C-reactive protein (SMD = −0.68 mmol/L) Compared to the placebo group.

To conclude, omega-3 supplementation can decrease inflammatory factors and FPG, reduce insulin resistance and enhance blood lipid metabolism in patients with GDM.

Reference:

Liu, W., Gao, M., Yang, S., Sun, C., Bi, Y., Li, Y., Wang, J., & Yuan, X. (2023). Effects of omega-3 supplementation on glucose and lipid metabolism in patients with gestational diabetes: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Diabetes and its Complications, 37(4), 108451. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdiacomp.2023.108451


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