Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Fish Oil and Diabetes

Wednesday, 23 September 2009 11:53 AM

Question: I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and have read on the Internet that I should avoid fish oil capsules. Do you agree?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Diabetes is a disorder of glucose metabolism. Triglycerides are often elevated in diabetics, but this can be managed with dietary changes, glucose control and lipid medications. Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiac and vascular disease, with the equivalent risk of a non-diabetic patient who has experienced a prior heart attack. This is the reason that lipid management is so important. Fish oil capsules with DHA have been shown to be protective in cardiac and high-risk patients (especially in diabetics) with lipid disorders.

Fish oil intake often decreases triglycerides, but may increase LDL, and needs to be monitored. It has no significant effect on diabetic blood glucose control, but does appear to be beneficial in the lipid management of a large majority of patients. Appropriate monitoring is important, but I would encourage almost all diabetics to use fish oil capsules if their physician agrees. Be careful to buy high quality standardized supplements since there is little if any FDA oversight of purity and composition in these products.

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