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2004 Edition

New Research:
Eating Fish May Help Prevent Heart Disease in People With Diabetes

Frequent consumption of fish containing omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) in women with diabetes, according to a recent study. As a result, people with diabetes may benefit from eating at least two servings per week of fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon.

More than 5,100 women with type 2 diabetes answered questions about their diet and health status every two years from 1976 to 1994. After adjusting for age and other risk factors for CHD, women who ate fish less than once a month had the highest risk of CHD. Compared with these women, CHD was 30% less likely in women who ate fish one to three times per month, 40% less likely in those who ate fish once a week, and 64% less likely in those who ate fish five or more times per week.

Nevertheless, it is unclear whether eating fish was responsible for the decrease in heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids may protect against CHD by lowering triglyceride levels, reducing blood clot formation, and preventing irregular heart rhythms. The study authors say concerns have been raised that fish oil may interfere with blood glucose control, but two recent meta-analyses found that it does not.

Volume 107, page 1852
April 15, 2003


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The Diabetes White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.



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