No Omega-3 Heart Benefit Seen in Women With Type 1 Diabetes

SATURDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Boosting consumption of omega-3 fatty acids doesn't seem to lower the risk of heart disease in women with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found primarily in fish, help prevent the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries, but little is known about whether omega-3 helps protect people with type 1 diabetes, who are at increased risk for heart disease.

University of Pittsburgh researchers analyzed data from 601 men and women enrolled in a long-term prospective study of type 1 diabetes patients that began in 1986. The participants were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes between 1950 and 1980.

During the study, 166 participants (27.6%) were diagnosed with heart disease. The investigators found the lowest incidence of heart disease among men who consumed the highest amounts of omega-3 (more than 0.2 grams per day). However, lower rates of heart disease were not found among women who consumed similar amounts of omega-3.

The findings are slated to be presented Saturday at the American Diabetes Association's Scientific Sessions, held in Orlando.

"Although omega-3 is typically associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, this may not be the case for women who have type 1 diabetes. Importantly, our study suggests we shouldn't assume men and women with type 1 diabetes are the same," lead author Tina Costacou, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, said in a university news release.

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: University of Pittsburgh, news release, June 26, 2010