Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fish Oil Works Swimmingly Well for Type 2 Diabetes

Even the most natural products-averse diabetes doctors often tell their patients who have type 2 diabetes to take fish oil. There is no doubt that taking fish oil can lower your triglycerides. But the big news is what fish oil can do for belly fat.

A significant part of the fat around your midriff really isn't fat at all. Up to a third of "belly fat" may actually be white blood cells, specifically the extra-large white blood cells known as macrophages.

Ordinarily macrophages circulate through the bloodstream to clean up dead cells and dead infectious microorganisms. The name macrophage literally means "big eater," and these super-sized infection fighters expand to engulf whole cells. They burn cholesterol for their energy, feeding on cholesterol deposits in the linings of blood vessels.

When macrophages travel into the tiny capillaries in your belly fat, however, they tend to get stuck. When they eventually die, other macrophages travel into your belly fat and get stuck, too. The next result is you have an ever-expanding mass of fat and white blood cells around your waist, and the fat cells can't (1) send signals to the brain to tell it they are full and you don't need to eat, so you eat too much and (2) take their fair share of sugar out of the bloodstream, so your blood sugar levels tend to stay too high.

Enter fish oil into the picture. Fish oil is a great source of two omega-3 essential fatty acids known as DHA and EPA. (Vegans will be happy to know that microalgae also provides these specific fatty acids.) These two fatty acids have a special effect on the macrophages that get trapped in belly fat. The fish oil fats turn on a gene called GRP120 that turns off the production of inflammatory chemicals. This isn't enough to dislodge the white blood cells that are making the bulge at your belly, but at least it will stop them from making belly fat inflamed with water weight.

Like so many other natural products, you don't have to take the maximum dose of fish oil (or encapsulated essential fatty acids from microalgae) to get the maximum benefit. In fact, the 15 to 45 grams some experts--who happen to own fish oil companies--recommend is way too much. Probably you can get all all the benefits you need from 2 or 3 capsules taken 2 or 3 times a day. Ask your doctor if this is a good idea first if you take prescription blood thinners, and stop if you experience stomach upset or, in rare instances, fishy breath.

One additional benefit of fish oil is reducing insulin resistance. If you stop inflammation in your belly fat, then as the tiny blood vessels clear and your belly fat becomes more accessible to insulin, it will be easier to avoid gaining more weight while you keep your blood sugar levels healthy in the future.

Selected Source:

Oh da Y, Talukdar S, Bae EJ, Imamura T, Morinaga H, Fan W, Li P, Lu WJ, Watkins SM, Olefsky JM.GPR120 is an omega-3 fatty acid receptor mediating potent anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects. Cell. 2010 Sep 3;142(5):687-98.

Read about a list of foods to lower cholesterol.

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