Insulin resistance is caused by an impairment of insulin’s action on glucose, protein and fat metabolism, which is associated with adipose tissue. Excessive visceral and subcutaneous fat causes adipocyte dysfunction which leads to inflammation and as a result causes a decrease in adiponectin and an increase in leptin levels.

According to a new review published in Nutrition Research, researchers investigated the effects omega-3 fatty acids on leptin and adiponectin levels.

Mostly all immune cells contain leptin receptors indicating their role in the immune response Leptin has been shown to facilitate the production of the proinflammatory cytokines that have been associated with chronic systemic inflammation in aging.

Adiponectin is a protein hormone that mediates numerous metabolic processes, such as glucose regulation, insulin sensitivity, and mitigating inflammation. It has an inverse relationship with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

This review consisted of 31 studies including 12 to 1081 participants. Twenty-nine studies used parallel designs and the remaining studies used a crossover design and a 2 ×2 factorial design. Double blinding occurred in 53% of the studies. Five studies were single-blinded and nine studies did not implement blinding. The research team included all studies on omega-3 fatty acid supplementation that reported leptin, adiponectin, or leptin/adiponectin ratio.

As a result, 18 studies demonstrated lower leptin or higher adiponectin levels from omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with 9 showing statistically significant differences. Supplementation doses and duration varied among the studies. In nine studies reporting significantly lower leptin or higher adiponectin levels the omega-3 fatty acid dosage was 520 mg to 4.2 grams day between 4 to 24 weeks in duration.

Essential fatty acids should be consumed in our diets for overall health, but most individuals with insulin resistance are deficient. Fish oils improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Other dietary supplements that have been shown to be effective for effecting adiponectin and inflammation include tocotrienols, curcumin, and quercetin.

By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS

Source: Rausch J, Gillespie S, et al. Systematic review of marine-derived omega-3 fatty acid supplementation effects on leptin, adiponectin, and the leptin-to-adiponectin ratio. Nutr Res. 2020 Nov 17;85:135-152.







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