HealthDay News — Consumption of single omega-3 is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, with dosage, ethnicity, trial duration, and recruited age influencing the effect, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation.

Cai Chen, from the Huazhong University of Science & Technology in China, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis based on prospective cohorts to examine the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on the risk of type 2 diabetes. They calculated pooled risk using a fixed or random effects model.

The researchers found that consumption of single omega-3 correlated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes (relative risk [RR]: 1.45); the relative risk was statistically insignificant for mixed omega-3. For diabetes risk, the dose-response curve presented an inverted U-shape, corresponding to omega-3 consumption dose. 

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In subanalysis, omega-3 was inversely associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes in Asians (RR: 0.82); in Westerners the risk was increased (RR: 1.3). A positive association was seen between type 2 diabetes risk and omega-3 intake in studies with follow-up duration 16 years and baseline age of 54 years or older.

“Our findings suggest that dosage and composition of omega-3, ethnicity, trial duration and recruited age may influence the effect of omega-3 on type 2 diabetes progression,” the researchers wrote.

Disclosure: The study was partially funded by CIMF-Novo Nordisk.

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  1. Chen C, Yang Y, Yu X, Hu S, Shao S. Association between Omega-3 fatty acids consumption and the risk of Type 2 Diabetes: a meta-analysis of cohort studies [published online December 29, 2016]. J Diabetes Investig. doi:10.1111/jdi.12614