Omega-3 fatty acids may not prevent heart disease for type 1 diabetics

A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health has revealed that consuming more omega-3 fatty acids does lower the risk of heart disease for women with type 1 diabetes.

Omega-3 fatty acids - commonly found in fish - can help prevent cholesterol buildup in the arteries. However, little has previously been known about this benefit in diabetics, who face a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Researchers examined the records of 601 men and women enrolled in the Pittsburgh Epidemiology of Diabetes Complication study, all of whom had been diagnosed with childhood onset diabetes between 1950 and 1980.

A total of 166 participants were diagnosed with heart disease. Researchers found that the risk was lowest in men who had consumed more than 0.2 grams of omega-3 fatty acids per day. Women who consumed the same amount, however, did not have a reduced risk.

“Although omega-3 is typically associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, this may not be the case for women who have type 1 diabetes,” said lead investigator Tina Costacou. “Importantly, our study suggests that we shouldn’t assume men and women with type 1 diabetes are the same.”