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Omega-3s improve metabolic markers in women with gestational diabetes.

Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes that occurs only during pregnancy, carries many health concerns for women, including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in later life. A new study shows that omega-3 fatty acids may improve metabolic markers associated with gestational diabetes. Women who took omega-3s during their pregnancies had healthier blood glucose, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels than those who didn’t.

Researchers analyzed the findings of six randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of omega-3s in women with gestational diabetes. The studies included more than 330 pregnant women, and the duration of the various trials was six weeks. Omega-3 doses ranged from 1 to 2 grams per day.

They found that across the six studies, markers of glucose metabolism (fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance), lipid metabolism (triglycerides and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and inflammation (C-reactive protein) were lower among women who took omega-3s than those who took a placebo. Levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol – often referred to as “good” cholesterol – increased.

This analysis suggests that omega-3 fatty acids, which are perhaps best known for their cardioprotective and neuroprotective properties, positively influence metabolism in pregnant women. It also aligns with the findings of a previous analysis, which found that compared to women who took a placebo, those who took supplemental omega-3s had considerably lower fasting blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Learn about other health benefits associated with omega-3s in our comprehensive overview article.

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