Nutrients lower chances of heart disease in diabetes

Omega-3 fatty acids lowered inflammation linked to heart disease, and higher levels of vitamin C and CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) meant better blood vessel function in diabetics, three new studies reveal.

In a diabetes study, doctors wanted to see if omega-3 fatty acids could lower the chances of cardiovascular disease common in diabetics. A group of about 80 similar type 2 diabetics took an omega-3 supplement or a placebo. After two months, homocysteine levels—an inflammatory sign of cardiovascular disease—were 1 percent lower in the placebo group compared to 22 percent lower for the omega-3 group. The omega-3 group also showed signs of better long-term blood sugar control, while the placebo group did not. The omega-3 formula included 1,548 mg of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), 828 mg of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and 338 mg of other omega-3s per day.

In a study of young type 1 diabetics, aged 10 to 22, doctors thought that vitamin C might help prevent the blood vessel damage that can lead to cardiovascular disease. Researchers measured signs of early blood vessel disease in about 60 male and female type 1 diabetics and found that those with the lowest vitamin C levels had signs of circulation problems beginning in the smallest blood vessels.

In another diabetes study, doctors explained that statin drugs can deplete CoQ10 by inhibiting synthesis, raising inflammation and impairing blood vessels. About 24 type 2 diabetics with impaired blood flow who were taking statin drugs also took 200 mg of CoQ10 per day or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those in the CoQ10 group had 1 percent better blood vessel relaxation. There was no change for placebo. Levels of CoQ10 nearly tripled in the CoQ10 group, which researchers said may also help relieve the muscle pain that is a common side effect of statin drugs.

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