Current Diabetes Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 279–288 | Cite as

Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids and Type 2 Diabetes

  • Charlotte Jeppesen
  • Katja Schiller
  • Matthias B. Schulze
Issues in the Nutritional Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity (E Mayer-Davis, Section Editor)


Polyunsaturated fatty acids are of particular interest in the nutritional therapy for diabetes, given their potential role in several pathophysiological processes related to cardiovascular disease. Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are beneficial for improving lipid profiles in healthy individuals and among type 2 diabetic patients: Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids lowers triglycerides and VLDL-cholesterol. However, they might also increase LDL-cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids are, from the latest evidence, not related to mortality and cardiovascular disease. Similarly, glucose control and hypertension, as well as risk of microvascular complications, seem unaffected by omega-3 supplementation. Most studies involved mainly patients with type 2 diabetes, and future research needs to focus on the type 1 diabetic patient. Also, the role of omega-6 fatty acids remains largely unknown.


Type 2 diabetes Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-6 fatty acids Cardiovascular disease Mortality Microvascular complications Intermediate outcomes 



fatty acids


eicosapentaenoic acid


docosahexaenoic acid


α- linoleic acid


polyunsaturated fatty acids


type 1 diabetes


type 2 diabetes


cardiovascular disease


Myocardial infarction


coronary heart disease


transient ischemic attack


Diabetic nephropathy


glomerular filtration rate


low density lipoprotein


very low density lipoprotein


high density lipoprotein


Carotid intima-media thickness


End-stage renal disease


urinary protein excretion



The study was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to the German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD eV) and a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG, SCHU 1516/5-1).


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte Jeppesen
    • 1
  • Katja Schiller
    • 1
  • Matthias B. Schulze
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Molecular EpidemiologyGerman Institute of Human NutritionNuthetalGermany

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