Omega-3 Fatty Acids Reduce Insulin Resistance

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/08/2024

Why are salmon dinners and walnut snacks on every health nut's menu? The secret lies in a tiny yet mighty nutrient: omega-3.

Learn about the benefits of omega-3, how a deficiency can affect you, and how you can incorporate more in your diet.

The Role of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Insulin Sensitivity

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, regulate insulin sensitivity. Imagine your body as an intricate highway system where omega-3s are the traffic cops regulating the flow - they help maintain order amidst potential chaos.

The Biological Function of DHA and EPA

DHA and EPA, two varieties of omega-3 fatty acids, work like enchantments inside our bodies to guarantee the sound control of insulin levels. They take charge of ensuring the smooth regulation of insulin levels. But how exactly do they do it?

Studies suggest that these omega-3 fats increase cell membrane fluidity, improving receptor function and helping cells 'hear' commands from hormones such as insulin.

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The Link Between Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Type 2 Diabetes

Surprising research has uncovered a strong correlation between omega-3 consumption and type 2 diabetes management. Let's delve into some surprising research findings.

In one eye-opening study, participants who consumed more dietary omega-3s showed lower rates of type 2 diabetes than those who ate less. It seems fish isn't just good for brain health; it could also be vital for keeping blood sugar levels stable.

Understanding Inflammation and Insulin Resistance

When inflammation lingers beyond its necessary time, it can disrupt insulin levels and cause insulin resistance.

But when it persists longer than necessary, problems start. This stubborn inflammation can affect insulin levels, leading to insulin resistance.

For sugar from food to enter cells where they serve as energy sources, we need a key called 'insulin.' However, storing too much fat—particularly belly fat releases pro-inflammatory chemicals into your bloodstream, causing chronic inflammation.

This continuous state of inflammation makes our bodies less responsive to the effects of insulin (imagine trying different keys on a jammed lock).

So, more and more glucose stays stuck outside our cells instead of fueling them, a situation known as 'insulin resistance.'

The Role Of Omega-3s Against Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids are potent compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that interfere with the production of certain substances released during an inflammatory response, such as cytokines and eicosanoids.

Why is this so important? Well, chronic inflammation often triggers insulin resistance. But omega-3 fatty acids can help dial down that inflammation.

Immune Modulation by Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Have you ever wondered how omega-3 fatty acids influence your immune system and its impact on insulin resistance? Omega-3 fatty acids can help regulate inflammation associated with insulin resistance, promoting overall health.

How Immune Modulation Impacts Insulin Resistance

The connection between immune modulation, inflammation, and insulin resistance is like an intricate dance performance requiring balance.

When this harmony is disrupted due to factors such as poor diet or stress, our body can start misinterpreting its cells as foreign invaders.

This triggers an inflammatory response, which creates havoc on our insulin sensitivity.

But here’s where omega-3s can help, reducing unnecessary inflammation and helping your body respond better to insulin.

A closer look at research findings shows that omega-3 fatty acids support immune modulation by influencing cell function through changes in gene expression. This leaves you with a more robust defense against chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes.

EPA & DHA: The Dynamic Duo of Omega-3 Fats

EPA and DHA, the two primary omega-3 fatty acids, are renowned for their anti-inflammatory effects.

EPA works to reduce inflammation in the body, and DHA keeps our cell walls strong. Together, they're a force against insulin resistance, calming inflammation and boosting cell response.

Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids help boost insulin sensitivity, manage, and even reduce insulin resistance. Lucky for us, they're found in a variety of delicious foods.

Mackerel: A Seafood Superstar

When it comes to omega-3s, mackerel is an excellent choice. This fish packs a whopping 4,170 mg per serving (source).

Beyond being an omega-3 powerhouse, mackerel is also rich in protein and vitamin B12 - essential nutrients for overall health.

The Mighty Salmon

Each serving of salmon gives you about 4,123 mg of those beneficial fats we love.

This flavorful fish makes an excellent dinner choice due to its high nutritional content, which includes not only our beloved omega-3 but also proteins and vitamins D & B6, among others.

Cod Liver Oil

A tablespoon of cod liver oil provides 2,682 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. This makes it an extremley efficient choice to supplement omega-3 in your diet.


Sardines are also high in omega-3s. This type of fish is bursting with omega-3s, and makes an excellent addition to your diet.

Butter and Insulin Resistance

While butter is considered a keto-friendly fat source, it's essential to consider its impact on insulin resistance, a condition often associated with high-carb diets. Many individuals on ketogenic diets ask, "Is butter keto?" The answer is yes, as it contains minimal carbs.

To maintain the benefits of a keto diet, it's crucial to balance your fat sources and incorporate a variety of healthy fats to support insulin sensitivity.

While butter can be part of a keto lifestyle, moderation, and overall dietary choices significantly manage insulin resistance effectively.


Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA and EPA, play a crucial role in regulating insulin sensitivity and managing inflammation, both of which are key factors in the development and management of type 2 diabetes.

Research suggests that omega-3 consumption is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, highlighting the importance of incorporating these essential fats into our diets.

Foods rich in omega-3s, such as mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, and sardines, offer excellent sources of these beneficial fats and can be easily incorporated into a balanced diet.

By making informed dietary choices and prioritizing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, we can optimize our insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, promoting long-term health and well-being.

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