Stearidonic Acid: Is There a Role in the Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?1-3

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Abstract

Obesity and its related comorbidities are major public health concerns in the United States with over two-thirds of adults and one-third of children classified as overweight or obese. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has similarly risen to an estimated 25.8 million, which accounts for a staggering $174 billion in annual healthcare costs. Identification of dietary interventions that protect against the development of T2DM would markedly reduce the medical and economic consequences of the disease. Hence, we review current evidence supporting a role of (n-3) PUFA in T2DM and explore potential therapeutic implications of stearidonic acid (SDA). The low consumption of fish in the US along with a reduced efficiency to interconvert most plant (n-3) PUFA highlights a need to find alternative sources of (n-3) PUFA. The efficient biological conversion of SDA to EPA underscores the potential implications of SDA as a source of (n-3) PUFA. The full therapeutic efficacy of SDA remains to be further determined. However, recent data have suggested a protective role of SDA consumption on markers of dyslipidemia and inflammation. The AHA recommends that healthy individuals consume oily fish at least twice per week and individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease consume 1 g of EPA+DHA/d. These goals will likely not be met by the typical American diet. Therefore, SDA may represent a sustainable alternative to marine-based (n-3) PUFA and may have novel therapeutic efficacy regarding the development of T2DM. J. Nutr. 142: 635S-640S, 2012.

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