Gestational diabetes, omega-3 and vitamins


Insulin is a hormone necessary for the use of glucose (sugar) by the body as an energy source. Diabetes occurs when the body produces very little or no insulin, or when it does not respond appropriately to insulin. One consequence of diabetes are high blood sugar levels, which can damage organs, blood vessels and nerves. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. In type 1, the body does not produce insulin (it accounts for approximately 10% of all diabetes cases); in type 2, the body does not produce enough insulin, or the cells do not react to insulin (approximately 90% of all cases of diabetes are of this type); gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy (it affects approximately 5% of all pregnancies), and involves an increased risk of fetal complications and risk of developing diabetes for both mother and child.

There are known modifiable diabetes risk factors, among them: to maintain a healthy weight, to follow a healthy diet, and to do regular physical exercise. Diet is one of the most important modifiable risk factors; thus, the use of nutritional supplements is being investigated with great interest. Nutrients with proposed benefit in glucose control include vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, chromium, and omega-3 fatty acids, also having on account that it is possible that a combination of nutrients will be required to achieve benefits.

Some studies have reported that vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids levels are lower in women with gestational diabetes in comparison with healthy pregnant women. On this basis, recently two studies have been carried out, one in Canada and the other in Iran, in which vitamin and omega-3 fatty acids supplementation has been associated with a reduced risk of progression to diabetes, with reversion to normal levels of glucose in high risk participants, and with beneficial effects on pregnancy outcomes.

These results suggest that nutrient supplementation including omega-3 fatty acids may provide a safe, economical and effective means for lowering diabetes risk, also during pregnancy.



Kimball SM, Emery JCH, Lewanczuk RZ. Effect of a vitamin and mineral supplementation on glycemic status: Results from a community-based program. J Clin Transl Endocrinol. 2017 Nov 7;10:28-35.

Razavi M, Jamilian M, Samimi M, et al. The effects of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids co-supplementation on biomarkers of inflammation, oxidative stress and pregnancy outcomes in patients with gestational diabetes. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2017 Dec 28;14:80.

What is Diabetes? [Internet]. EE.UU.: The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Health Information Center. 

About diabetes [Internet]. EE.UU.: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pre-diabetes modifiable risk factors [Internet]. EE.UU.: American Heart Association.