After nine years of follow-up, those who consumed the most alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid—were 21 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to those who consumed the least ALA.
In a study from Harvard University, Boston, scientists measured blood plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids in 3,088 men and women, average age 75. Those with the highest concentrations of EPA, DHA or ALA were less likely to have type 2 diabetes.
In another study, 167 healthy men and women with cholesterol scores of at least 200, who had never taken cholesterol-lowering drugs, took 1 gram of fish oil per day, or a placebo. After six months, while the placebo group had not improved, those in the omega-3 group had higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides.
Researchers then fed participants a high-fat meal. While there was no change for placebo, those in the omega-3 group had several signs of greater insulin sensitivity, increasing the ability of the body to absorb, use, and store glucose.