Human Health & Nutrition

Effects of long-term supplementation of diets with fish oil

fish oil capsules

Controlling glucose concentrations in humans by dietary means offers many benefits compared with medical intervention, but it is believed that past studies have provided inconsistent outcomes due to the short duration of dietary supplementation. Consequently, a recent study at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health aimed to establish whether longterm (nine months) fish oil supplementation improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in older people with impaired glucose regulation. Whilst monitoring glucose concentrations in the blood of participating volunteers provides information on net changes, it does not tell us whether these changes are due to differences in the production rate, disposal rate, or both. Therefore, in collaboration with BioSS, a complex study protocol was designed in which, at the start of the study and after nine months of supplementation, volunteers were given an infusion of stable isotopes in conjunction with frequent blood sampling. We then developed mathematical models based on differential equations in non-steady state. We fitted these models to the data obtained from the infusions, and this allowed for quantification of the uptake rate of glucose, endogenous production of glucose, glucose disposal, and the sensitivity of these variables to insulin levels. Our analyses found no evidence for any long-term effect on these outcomes from fish oil supplementation, which was supported by differences of less than 10% in the mean values of the associated model parameters between the control and treatment (fish oil supplement) groups.

Further details from: Claus-Dieter Mayer

Article date 2015

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