Effects of n-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation on Insulin Resistance
Pp. 46-57 (12)
Maria Teresa Villarreal-Molina and Samuel Canizales-Quinteros
Studies in humans and animal models have demonstrated that fish oil, a natural source of n-3 long
chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), has clinical significance in the prevention and reversal of insulin
resistance. Many studies support that higher proportion of serum and cell-membrane n-3 PUFA can improve
insulin sensitivity and prevent type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, epidemiological and dietary intervention studies
in healthy, obese and diabetic individuals have produced conflicting results on the metabolic effects of dietary n-3
PUFA. The present chapter discusses updated evidence on this matter, analyzes the possible reasons for these
inconsistencies, and the possible mechanisms by which n-3 LC-PUFA may prevent or revert insulin resistance.
The use of these fatty acids should be part of integral strategies, considering age, gender, metabolic or health
status and other variables. This strategy should include changes in lifestyle, adhering to a healthy diet and regular
physical activity. Although this is encouraging in the perspective of insulin resistance prevention, further clinical
and basic studies must be designed to confirm and complete our knowledge in this field.
Unit of Molecular Biology and Genomic Medicine, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Química, UNAM.