Effects of Fish Oil in Diabetes

taking blood glucose sugar test with glucometer


Fish oils contain the omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). 

These fatty acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, lessen joint pain and can even have a positive effect on your mood. Our bodies can’t make these healthy fats, so we need to get them from our diets.

But if you’re diabetic, you may be wondering what are the effects of fish oil on diabetes?

The following research on fish oils and diabetics shows:

  • fish oils may increase hormone levels that enhance glucose metabolism.
  • omega 3 fatty acids help lower high triglyceride levels and reduce the risk for hypertension.
  • fish oils don’t appear to have any negative effect on insulin sensitivity or blood glucose levels.

Fish Oils May Help Fight Against Diabetes

Boston, Massachusetts – Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health discovered that fish oils help fight against type 2 diabetes

For diabetics, there is an important hormone called adiponectin that helps regulate how your body metabolizes glucose.

Scientists looked at a number of studies where 682 people took fish oil and another 641 patients were given placebos.

They discovered that the people taking fish oil experienced higher adipopectin levels, quoting:

“Although higher levels of adiponectin in the bloodstream have been linked to lower risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease, whether fish oil influences glucose metabolism and development of type 2 diabetes remains unclear….However, results from our study suggest that higher intake of fish oil may moderately increase blood level of adiponectin, and these results support potential benefits of fish oil consumption on glucose control and fat cell metabolism.”


Fish Oils Don’t Effect Blood Sugar in Diabetics

Naples, Italy – Researchers from the Institute of Internal Medicine and Metabolic Diseases in Naples, Italy found fish oil has no effect on fasting blood sugar and also reduced high triglyceride levels.

Study participants with Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitis were randomly assigned to take 10 grams of fish oil per day or a placebo.

After a 2 week period, study participants randomly switched over to the alternate regimen for another 2 weeks.

Since this was a double-blind, randomized cross-over study, neither researchers nor study participants knew what was being taken. 

At the end of the study, researchers found that fish oils reduced high triglyceride levels and they had no negative side effects on blood sugar levels.

Researchers at the Department of Diabetes in Paris also found similar results….When Type 2 diabetic patients were given 6 grams per day of fish oil for 2 months, they found fish oils don’t affect blood sugar or insulin-sensitivity and helped lower triglyceride levels.


Fish Oils Recommended for Diabetics with Hypertension

Norway – Researchers at the Department of Internal Medicine at Tromsø University Hospital reported that fish oil reduces high blood pressure and has no effect on blood sugar control, even in people with diabetes.

nurse taking diabetic woman's blood pressure

Seventy-eight (78) obese patients with confirmed high blood pressure were split into 2 groups and randomly assigned to receive either 4 fish oil capsules a day (totaling 3.4 grams of EPA and DHA) or corn oil. The study lasted for 16 weeks.

At the end of the study, the group receiving fish oil showed triglyceride levels dropped by about 9% and average blood pressures dropped about 3.3 to 4.4 mmHg.

The Corn Oil group’s triglyceride levels increased by about 12% and there was no change in their blood pressure measurements.

Researchers extensively tested for insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels and found no significant changes for both groups of patients.

They concluded that fish or fish oils are useful in preventing vascular disease in diabetics and recommend diabetics eat fish up to three times a week or supplement with 2 to 3 grams of fish oils per day.



The research appears to indicate that fish oil is safe for diabetes and provides the following benefits:

  • may increase hormone levels that enhance glucose metabolism.
  • can help lower high triglyceride levels and reduce the risk for hypertension.
  • fish oils don’t appear to have any negative effect on insulin sensitivity or blood glucose levels.

soft gel fish oils lying on EKG tracing with stethoscope


There are currently no recommended fish oil dosages oil for diabetes.

Suggested fish oil dosages from leading health authorities, such as the American Heart Association, focus more on  people with heart disease or high triglyceride levels.

If you have these health conditions you may want to review the above fish oil dosages for more information.

Please consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet and ensure you’re both working together to manage your diabetes safely and effectively.


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Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.