WCHN study points to something fish-y to help prevent heart disease in diabetics

By Bill Fallon

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Taking the recommended 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids via daily krill oil supplements appears to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease for people with type 2 diabetes, according to a new study led by researchers at Western Connecticut Health Network.

The study was published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, an open-access journal for the healthcare industry.

Participants in the study showed “improved endothelial function” after four weeks of a daily krill oil supplement compared with participants receiving olive oil and further improvement following an additional 17 weeks of supplementation.

In a prepared statement, the hospital said endothelial function is the ability of the innermost lining of the blood vessels to expand and contract. “Several studies have shown a likely correlation between poor endothelial function and cardiovascular events, and it is believed to be a predictor of cardiovascular disease development,” the statement said.

Blood levels of HDL – the good cholesterol – also improved in patients following 17 weeks of daily krill oil.

The researchers said additional study is needed to determine whether longer-term consumption of krill oil would reduce the risk further and whether their findings for individuals with type 2 diabetes would extend to other high risk populations.

Since 2002, the American Heart Association has recommended a daily intake of 1,000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, WCHN reported.

“Among other complications, people with type 2 diabetes have a greatly increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and nearly nine percent of the adult population of our home state of Connecticut has been diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes,” said Jessika Lobraico, lead research associate at WCHN and lead author of the study. “Our findings indicate that there may be another important way to reduce the risk of heart disease for populations already at a higher risk for these complications.”

Lobraico offered the advice for patients to check with their healthcare provider before starting any new regimen.

Western Connecticut Health Network serves Connecticut’s west flank and adjacent New York.  It is anchored by three hospitals: Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, plus affiliated organizations. Besides the hospitals, the network’s continuing-care  includes numerous medical practices and subspecialties through the Western Connecticut Medical Group, the Western Connecticut Home Care, the WCHN Research Institute, the WCHN Foundation and other affiliates.

In the prepared statement, the hospital said, “This study was conducted as part of WCHN’s clinical research program, where in-house teams lead cutting-edge studies to address the range of needs of patients across the region. The WCHN research program provides direct interaction between bench scientists and patients who participate in studies. The institution’s smaller size significantly speeds the transition of new discoveries from the lab to the clinic.”

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About the author

Bill Fallon
Bill Fallon is editor of the Fairfield County Business Journal. He has worked at Westfair Communications for more than five years, previously editing an upstate New York daily and a national motorcycle magazine in Nevada. He attended Iona Prep in New Rochelle, N.Y., and the University of Virginia.

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