A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined 1,770 children, aged one and older, who were at high risk for type 1 diabetes to determine whether omega-3 intake had effect on developing the condition.
Parents completed annual surveys that recorded the frequency of omega-3 intake in the children at age 3, 6, and 9. The children also received regular blood tests for auto-antibodies that would signal the onset of type 1 diabetes.
The most common sources of omega-3 fat were from plants - soy, canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed - not fatty fish. At the end of the six year study, the researchers found that each 800 milligram increase of daily omega-3 fat intake was associated with a 55% drop in the risk of having diabetes auto-antibodies.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that is characterized by minimal insulin production by the islet cells in the pancreas. Without insulin, the body can not clear sugar from the bloodstream. Hence, type 1 diabetics have a lifelong dependency on insulin injections.
An estimated 200,000 Canadians have Type 1 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in childhood. For more information see Leslie's interview on Canada AM.
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