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Multivitamins Plus Omega-3s May Curtail Diabetes Risk

Diabetes affects 347 million people worldwide, with type 2 diabetes making up 90% of those cases. Fortunately, research has found type 2 diabetes is often preventable by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising. And now, a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology may have uncovered another way to help lower diabetes risk, finding that a daily multivitamin plus omega-3 fatty acids was associated with better blood sugar control in people at risk for prediabetes and diabetes.

The study included data from 1,018 non-diabetic people, ages 25 to 54, participating in two different stages of a community wellness program sponsored by the Pure North S’Energy Foundation. Those participating in the first stage (from 2008 to 2010) received individually determined amounts of vitamin D3, between 1,000 and 20,000 IU per day, to achieve target blood levels; those participating in the second stage (from 2010 to 2012) received the same individually determined amounts of vitamin D3 plus a multivitamin and 600 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA). When researchers examined participants’ serum vitamin D levels and markers of blood sugar control after the first year of each of the two stages of the program, they found:

  • Higher serum vitamin D levels were associated with better markers of blood sugar control in those in the second (full supplement) stage of the program.
  • While 16% of those in the first (vitamin D3 only) stage of the program developed prediabetes or diabetes, only 8% of those in the full supplement stage of the program developed these conditions.
  • Abnormal markers of blood sugar control were more likely to improve in those in the full supplement stage compared with those in the vitamin D3 only stage of the program.

This suggests vitamin D3 combined with omega-3 fatty acids and a multivitamin may help regulate blood sugar levels and could reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, a direct link can’t be drawn between these supplements and a reduced diabetes risk based on these findings. More clinical trials are needed to verify the possible benefits of a supplement program for diabetes prevention. If you are at risk of diabetes, check with your healthcare provider to see if adding supplements to your diabetes-prevention program makes sense for you.

Source: Journal of Clinical and Translational Endocrinology

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Information expires December 2018.

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