Scientists from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and elsewhere found omega-3 fatty acids may prevent heart failure in people with type 2 diabetes.
Heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body.
Heart failure is a serious condition, but it does not mean that the heart has stopped beating.
People who have Type 2 diabetes, characterized by elevated blood sugar levels, are two to four times more likely to develop heart failure than someone without diabetes.
But heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to efficiently pump oxygenated blood through the body, also is a risk factor for diabetes.
The human body can make most of the types of fats it needs from other fats or raw materials. That isn’t the case for omega-3 fatty acids (also called omega-3 fats and n-3 fats).
These are essential fats—the body can’t make them from scratch but must get them from food. Foods high in Omega-3 include fish, vegetable oils, nuts (especially walnuts), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables.
In the current study, researchers aimed to evaluate whether type 2 diabetes modifies the effects of omega-3 supplementation on heart failure hospitalization.
They also aimed to examine if race modifies the effects of omega-3 supplements on heart failure risk.
They used data from the parent VITAL (Vitamin D and Omega-3 Trial)-a completed research testing the efficacy of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids on heart diseases and cancer.
The team found when omega-3 supplements were compared with a placebo, the risk for first heart failure hospitalization was lower in participants with prevalent type 2 diabetes than in people without diabetes.
Furthermore, type 2 diabetes modified the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on the incidence of recurrent heart failure hospitalization.
In another analysis, omega-3 supplementation reduced recurrent heart failure hospitalization only in Black people.
Based on the findings, the team concludes that the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on heart failure hospitalization may exist in people with type 2 diabetes but not in those without type 2 diabetes.
The benefit appears to be stronger in Black people with type 2 diabetes.
The research was published in JACC Heart Failure and conducted by Luc Djoussé et al.
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