HealthDay News — According to a study in JAMA Ophthalmology, 2 servings of fatty fish a week may decrease diabetic patients’ risk of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Aleix Sala-Vila, PhD, of the Centro de Investigacion Biomedica en Red in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues focused on participants who were drawn from an earlier trial that had divided Spanish residents with type 2 diabetes into 3 different groups, each assigned to a different diet. 

The first followed a low-fat diet. The second followed a Mediterranean (plant-based/red meat-free) diet, supplemented with extra virgin olive oil. And the third also followed a Mediterranean diet, supplemented with nuts. The team found that it was the individuals in the second group who saw their vision risks fall.

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Working with the same pool of participants, Sala-Vila’s team then asked 3614 men and women with diabetes between the ages of 55 and 80 to report how often they consumed 8 types of seafood before embarking on their assigned diets. Once they began their diets, their seafood consumption habits were tracked for nearly 5 years.

The researchers found that those who routinely consumed 500 mg a day of omega-3 fatty acid in their diets (equal to 2 servings of fatty fish per week) were 48% less likely to develop incident sight-threatening diabetic retinopathy than those who consumed less.

2 authors disclosed financial ties to the International Nut Council and the California Walnut Commission.


Sala-vila A, Díaz-lópez A, Valls-pedret C, et al. Dietary Marine ω-3 Fatty Acids and Incident Sight-Threatening Retinopathy in Middle-Aged and Older Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: Prospective Investigation From the PREDIMED Trial. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2016.2906. [Epub ahead of print]

Larsen M. Eat Your Fish or Go for Nuts. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2016. doi:10.1001/ jamaophthalmol.2016.2942. [Epub ahead of print]

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