One severe and all-too-common complication of Type 2 diabetes is kidney disease and their subsequent failure. Diabetic kidney disease is diagnosed by a test that looks for albumin, or the presence of protein in the urine. Albumin is a molecule usually found in the blood. When the kidneys filter blood, they keep the albumin in the bloodstream where it belongs. When the kidneys begin spilling albumin into the urine, a condition called albuminuria results. If it is allowed to go on or become worse, the kidneys can eventually shut down altogether. When that happens, the diabetic needs dialysis (artificial kidney), or a kidney transplant. When the diabetic receives a diagnosis of albuminuria, they are also in danger of having or developing heart and blood vessel disease.
In July of 2017, the Journal of the American Heart Association reported on a study performed at the Harvard Medical School in the United States. Two molecules, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements were found to be helpful for controlling albuminuria.
A total of 262 Type 2 diabetics with an average age of 63 years were included in the study. For one year the participants were either given…
- Lovaza, a supplement containing EPA and DHA, or
- the usual treatment.
Most of the 262 Type 2 diabetics suffered coronary artery disease as well. Coronary artery disease, often abbreviated to CAD, is blockage of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries feed oxygenated blood to the heart muscle, giving the heart the ability to pump. When the coronary arteries become blocked the heart becomes ischemic, or oxygen-starved. This can result in loss of heart muscle and even death.
At the end of the abovementioned study, the participants not receiving Lovaza showed worsened albuminuria over the course of the year. It was found the participants who were taking the supplement stayed the same. These were the results for the diabetic participants taking drugs called ACE inhibitors, for kidney and blood pressure issues, as well as for those not taking ACE inhibitors.
The scientists concluded EPA and DHA supplementation showed promise for saving the kidneys in Type 2 diabetic patients with coronary artery disease…
- DHA and EPA are among the molecules known as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Lovaza is composed of fish oil.
Other good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include algae and flaxseed oils. Omega-3 fatty acids from plants are different from the ones found in fish, but the body converts the flaxseed fatty acids to DHA and EPA. The conversion can be inefficient if the whole diet is not taken into account. In view of this, it is advisable people with Type 2 diabetics with CAD see a nutritionist for a healthy eating plan where conversion of the flaxseed fatty acids becomes more efficient.