Brown, T., Brainard, J., Song, F., Wang, X., Abdelhamid, A. & Hooper, L. | 2019| Omega-3, omega-6, and total dietary polyunsaturated fat for prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials | BMJ| 366 | l4697| doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l4697 :
Research that investigated whether omega-3 and other fatty acids were beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes has found that increasing long chain omega-3 intake had little or no effect on diagnosis or glucose metabolism; the study’s authors also report that there may be negative outcomes at high dose.
Objective To assess effects of increasing omega-3, omega-6, and total polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) on diabetes diagnosis and glucose metabolism.
Design Systematic review and meta-analyses.
Data sources Medline, Embase, Cochrane CENTRAL, WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Clinicaltrials.gov, and trials in relevant systematic reviews.
Eligibility criteria Randomised controlled trials of at least 24 weeks’ duration assessing effects of increasing α-linolenic acid, long chain omega-3, omega-6, or total PUFA, which collected data on diabetes diagnoses, fasting glucose or insulin, glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), and/or homoeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
Data synthesis Statistical analysis included random effects meta-analyses using relative risk and mean difference, and sensitivity analyses. Funnel plots were examined and subgrouping assessed effects of intervention type, replacement, baseline risk of diabetes and use of antidiabetes drugs, trial duration, and dose. Risk of bias was assessed with the Cochrane tool and quality of evidence with GRADE.
Results 83 randomised controlled trials (mainly assessing effects of supplementary long chain omega-3) were included; 10 were at low summary risk of bias. Long chain omega-3 had little or no effect on likelihood of diagnosis of diabetes or measures of glucose metabolism. A suggestion of negative outcomes was observed when dose of supplemental long chain omega-3 was above 4.4 g/d. Effects of α-linolenic acid, omega-6, and total PUFA on diagnosis of diabetes were unclear (as the evidence was of very low quality), but little or no effect on measures of glucose metabolism was seen, except that increasing α-linolenic acid may increase fasting insulin (by about 7%). No evidence was found that the omega-3/omega-6 ratio is important for diabetes or glucose metabolism.
Conclusions This is the most extensive systematic review of trials to date to assess effects of polyunsaturated fats on newly diagnosed diabetes and glucose metabolism, including previously unpublished data following contact with authors. Evidence suggests that increasing omega-3, omega-6, or total PUFA has little or no effect on prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Systematic review registration PROSPERO CRD42017064110.
The full article is available from the BMJ
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