Mechanisms of enhanced insulin secretion and sensitivity with n-3 unsaturated fatty acids

Bhaswant, Maharshi and Poudyal, Hemant and Brown, Lindsay (2015) Mechanisms of enhanced insulin secretion and sensitivity with n-3 unsaturated fatty acids. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 26 (6). pp. 571-584. ISSN 0955-2863


The widespread acceptance that increased dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), improve health is based on extensive studies in animals, isolated cells and humans. Visceral adiposity is part of the metabolic syndrome, together with insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and inflammation. Alleviation of metabolic syndrome requires normalization of insulin release and responses. This review assesses our current knowledge of the mechanisms that allow n-3 PUFAs to improve insulin secretion and sensitivity. EPA has been more extensively studied than either ALA or DHA. The complex actions of EPA include increased G-protein-receptor-mediated release of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) from enteroendocrine L-cells in the intestine, up-regulation of the apelin pathway and down-regulation of other control pathways to promote insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta-cells, together with suppression of inflammatory responses to adipokines, inhibition of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha actions and prevention of decreased insulin-like growth factor-1 secretion to improve peripheral insulin responses. The receptors involved and the mechanisms of action probably differ for ALA and DHA, with antiobesity effects predominating for ALA and anti-inflammatory effects for DHA. Modifying both GLP-1 release and the actions of adipokines by n-3 PUFAs could lead to additive improvements in both insulin secretion and sensitivity.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2016 04:40
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2016 03:02
Uncontrolled Keywords: n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids; insulin; adipokines; obesity; inflammation
Fields of Research : 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1111 Nutrition and Dietetics > 111103 Nutritional Physiology
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1115 Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences > 111501 Basic Pharmacology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.02.001

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