Diabetes and Omega-3s: How Healthy Fats Can Help

Living with diabetes requires paying close attention to many aspects of your daily life. It’s common knowledge that people with diabetes need to monitor their blood sugar and keep their carbohydrate intake low. But did you know that diabetes can affect your eyes as well?

One of the leading causes of blindness in adults in America is diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by high blood sugar over an extended period of time. This higher amount of glucose causes changes to the blood vessels in the back of the eyes which can interfere with the retina obtaining the proper amount of nutrients it needs to function correctly. These tiny blood vessels may also leak and cause blurry vision, or may even detach the retina.

This all sounds scary, but you may be able to reduce your risk of this occurrence by ingesting omega-3s.

What are omega-3s?

Omega-3s are fatty acids, typically thought of as healthy fats. There are three main omega-3 fatty acids: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). High levels of DHA are found in the retina, so it makes sense as to why getting these omega-3s are so important for vision, amongst other very important bodily functions.

Where can I find omega-3s?

Our bodies are not capable of making ALA, and can only convert small amounts of ALA to EPA and DHA. So, how do we get these fatty acids? The best way possible: through food! Fish are a great source of omega-3s, especially coldwater fatty fish. Salmon, mackerel, and tuna are great examples.

Fish isn’t for everyone, so luckily, omega-3s can also be found in nuts, seeds, plants, and plant oils. Walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds are high in omega-3s, as well as spinach and avocados. Yum! Remember roasting pumpkin seeds after carving your spooky pumpkins for Halloween? Who knew you were doing right by your body and helping your vision?

What about supplements?

While it’s always best to get nutrients from food, omega-3s can also be found in supplements. There are a variety of supplements you can take, such as fish oil, cod liver oil, krill oil, and algal oil, which is a vegetarian option that comes from algae. If you opt to get your omega-3s from a supplement, make sure you talk with your doctor about the dosage and frequency with which you should be taking them.

If you’re concerned about your vision or just want to learn more about how healthy fats can help, give us a call at 815-217-9266 or send us a message through our website. With locations in Frankfort and Bourbonnais, Illinois, all of us at Nicholas Rutkowski, O.D. and Associates are here to help!

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