Diabetes Self-Management Articles

These articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the most basic aspects of diabetes care to the nitty-gritty specifics.

Links not loading properly?

Some of our pages use Portable Document Format (PDF) files, which require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To download Acrobat Reader for free, visit www.adobe.com.

Sign up for our weekly e-mail newsletter and receive a FREE GIFT! Enter your e-mail below.

Learn more

Learn more about diabetes

Links to help you learn more about diabetes.

Ask a diabetes expert
Other diabetes resources
Browse article topics


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A type of polyunsaturated fat believed to have multiple health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids get their name from the structure of their molecules, in which the first of several double bonds occurs three carbon atoms away from the end of the carbon chain. There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids: Alpha-linolenic acid (LNA) is found in vegetable sources, and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) come from fish and other marine life.

Research has suggested that consuming omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils could protect a person from coronary heart disease. For example, some studies have shown that Greenland Eskimos, who consume a lot of seal and whale meat, have much lower blood cholesterol levels, lower triglyceride levels, and lower rates of coronary artery disease than people living in Denmark (who consume less fish). Other studies have shown that men who ate fish at least once a week had a lower mortality rate from coronary artery disease than men who ate none.

Other potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids have also emerged from scientific studies, including the following:

• Diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids may decrease insulin resistance in people with diabetes.

• Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, macular degeneration, and certain types of cancer.

• Those who consume more fish appear to have lower rates of depression, and omega-3 supplements, when used in conjunction with conventional medical therapy, may be helpful in treating bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) and schizophrenia.

• Omega-3 supplements have been shown to improve symptoms of inflammatory diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Health experts agree that it is generally a good idea for most people (with or without diabetes) to consume more omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. The richest dietary source of omega-3 fatty acids is oily cold-water fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in nuts (especially walnuts), flaxseeds, canola oil, and specially fortified eggs.

Taking fish oil supplements may also be helpful, but you should take them in addition to — rather than instead of — getting omega-3 fatty acids from your diet and following your diabetes treatment plan. Studies have shown that fish oil supplements may lower triglyceride levels in people with Type 2 diabetes, which could lower their risk of heart disease. However, fish oil supplements may, in some people, significantly raise the levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called “bad” cholesterol. People taking them should have their blood lipid levels monitored regularly. In addition, since fish oil supplements can affect blood clotting, people who are taking anticlotting medicines, have had a hemorrhagic stroke, or are having surgery in the near future should avoid them.



More articles on Diabetes Definitions



Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.



You Can Fight Chronic Pain With Food
Not long after I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the complications started to appear. I... Blog

Hype or Healthy? Chia Pudding and Bulletproof Coffee
Food trends are nothing new. They've been around forever, it seems. Case in point: Jell-O salads... Blog

Test Your Nutrition Knowledge With Our Interactive Quiz!
Did you know that certain foods can provide benefits beyond nutrition? Consumer interest... Blog

I've been experiencing high blood glucose a lot lately. Is there anything I can do? Get tip