It’s well-known that omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish may help reduce your risk for heart disease, help to protect your joints and improve brain function. But there are additional reasons for diabetics to ensure a regular intake of omega-3s, including lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol, as well as reduced risk of retinopathy – the major cause of blindness in diabetics.
Type 2 diabetes, typically lifestyle related, was once seen as a disease of adults but today, it is growing at alarming rates in children and adolescents. Diabetes amongst adolescents and children globally is increasing by 3% each year, and as much as 5% per year among pre-school children. So, what is it we’re doing wrong?
According to Dr Nina Bailey, “A day rarely goes by without some mention on the news of increased rates of obesity, reduced activity levels or excessive alcholol consumption. What’s significant is that each of these factors is associated with diabetes risk in the general population.
“It’s easy to dismiss the advice we hear about making small lifestyle adjustments to improve our health and reduce our risk of illness. But changes in exercise, diet, smoking habits and alcohol do affect our propensity to certain illnesses, and particularly diabetes. It’s time for us to take responsibility for our health.”
Treatment for diabetes centres on managing blood glucose levels, of which the diet plays a huge part. Avoiding blood sugar highs and lows is crucial, thus avoiding simple sugars in sweets, fizzy drinks and cakes is imperative. Intake of whole grains, fibre, fresh fruit and vegetables is a necessary part of a balanced diet and is especially important for people with diabetes.
An essential part of every diet which we hear often about in relation to heart health, are the good fats in the diet, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish. Diabetics tend to have very low levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood because insulin plays a vital role in the body’s metabolism and use of these essential fats. When insulin is absent or activity is impeded, often the case with diabetics, the enzymes needed to process these fatty acids cannot be produced. The result is often a deficiency of the long-chain fatty acids which play a role in electrical messaging, the formation of cell membranes, the regulation of blood pressure and clotting, as well as a host of other functions.
Extremely effective for cardiovascular disease, the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy (which leads to blindness), cholesterol levels, nephropathy (damage to the kidneys) and macroangiopathy (fat and blood clots in the large blood vessels), increasing intake of long-chain omega-3s such as EPA is easy and simple when supplementing the diet with a highly concentrated and purified omega-3 fish oil supplement.
Diabetes sufferer Derek Beatty, Chairman of St Albans and District Voluntary Diabetes Support Group (a branch of Diabetes UK), recommends trying an omega-3 fish oil for two to three months if you suffer with painful neuropathy, to see if it improves your well-being. He reports: “Thirty years of insulin treatment for Type 1 diabetes, with almost 22,000 twice daily insulin injections, led to my suffering severe muscular cramps with extreme pain when waking in the morning, with one acute episode each month. These experiences were very distressing to both myself and my wife.
“I eat a balanced diet and am careful of what I eat and drink and try to exercise daily, so as to minimise the risk of complications of diabetes, but these episodes of painful neuropathy came without warning. I started taking a low dose of OmegaForce [high dose omega-3 fish oil], last October after having studied the potential clinical benefits in an effort to reduce the discomfort associated with diabetic neuropathy.
“I can confidently say that I think OmegaForce has significantly minimised the incidence and severity of painful neuropathy episodes I previously experienced. I also am of the opinion that OmegaForce supplement has assisted in keeping me feeling positive and emotionally stable in difficult times.”
OmegaForce, a purified and concentrated omega-3 EPA-rich supplement, is ideal as part of the daily diet for managing the symptoms associated with diabetes. Actively repairing existing nerve and cell damage from blood sugar complications, the fatty acids in OmegaForce also help to reduce the risk of diabetes-related conditions. Whilst supplementation can go a long way towards improving the health of a diabetic sufferer, it is by no means a solution. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, as well as removing from the diet foods high in sugar and starch which pose a threat to blood sugar levels, can make a significant difference to one’s health.