A study suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could play an important role in helping nerves recover from damage or injury reinforcing the importance of regular servings of fish in the diabetes diet.
Doing everything you can to maintain the health of the nerves to your feet and legs is very important whether or not you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Elevated blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage in the feet and legs known as peripheral neuropathy.
A recent study on animals suggests that omega-3 fatty acids could play a role in preventing and treating nerve damage. As the authors of the study put it, the purpose of the study was to “assess the neuroprotective and pro-regenerative potential of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in peripheral nerve injury.” The study was published in The Journal of Neuroscience (January 2012) suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the protection of nerve cells and have beneficial effects on the recovery of nerves after injury.
Their research showed that the mice with good levels of omega-3 fatty acids did show some increased level of nerve protection and ability to recover from nerve injury. This is important information for the diabetic that is prone to peripheral nerve damage. Many diabetics also have poor circulation leading to reduced oxygen levels of the tissues of the feet and legs leading to tissue damage.
Another interesting finding was that the mice with good levels of omega-3 fatty acids appeared to have some protection from muscle wasting after nerve damage. I have previously posted on the role of omega-3 fats in the neuromuscular health of exercising elderly people.
Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of “essential fat” in that the body needs these so-called fatty acids to function, but is unable make them on its own. We therefore need to obtain these nutrients from our diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such fish (especially oily coldwater fish), or through omega-3 supplements containing fish, flax, or krill oil. You should regularly try to eat at least some fish. Stay tuned for many more health benefits of eating fish.
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