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Carbohydrates, insulin resistance and diabetes mellitus

Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on C-peptide preservation in pregnant women with type-1 diabetes: randomized placebo controlled clinical trial



Type-1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is caused by autoimmune insulitis. There are evidences that pregnancy and n-3 fatty acids exhibit suppressive effect on human inflammatory system.


Ninety pregnant women with T1DM were included in the prospective randomized placebo controlled clinical trial. Forty-seven of them were put on standard diabetic diet enriched with EPA and DHA twice a day (EPA 120 mg and DHA 616 mg; Study group) and 43 pregnant diabetic women were on standard diabetic diet with placebo (Control group). Duration of T1DM in all participants was between 5 to 30 years. Blood samples were analyzed from all pregnant women for fasting C-peptide (FC-peptide), fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and HbA1c in each trimester throughout pregnancy and after delivery. Umbilical vein blood was analyzed for fetal C-peptide level, glucose concentration and insulin resistance.


In the Study group FC-peptide concentration raised from 59.6±103.9 pmol/l in first trimester, to 67.7±101.3 pmol/l in the second trimester and to 95.1±152.7 pmol/l in the third trimester. Comparing the FC-peptide values during first and third trimester a statistically significant increase in third trimester was found (P<0.001). In the Control group FC-peptide concentration ranged from 41.7±91.6 pmol/l in the first trimester to 41.2±70.9 mmol/l in the second trimester while in the third trimester it reached 52.4±95.3 pmol/l. Comparing the FC-peptide values during first and third trimester the statistical difference was not significant.


Combining of LC n-3 PUFAs and pregnancy yields immunological tolerance and stimulates the production of endogenous insulin in women with T1DM.

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This investigation was part of the scientific project approved by the Ministry of Science, Education and Technology of the Republic of Croatia, entitled Metabolic and Endocrine Changes in Pregnant Patients with Diabetes (No. 108-1080401-0386).

Author contributions

MH collected the samples and data analyses. JD did data analyses, statistical analyses and wrote the manuscript. MI revised/edited the manuscript. SO revised/edited the manuscript and approved it for submission. MH collected the samples.

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Correspondence to J Djelmis.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Horvaticek, M., Djelmis, J., Ivanisevic, M. et al. Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid supplementation on C-peptide preservation in pregnant women with type-1 diabetes: randomized placebo controlled clinical trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 71, 968–972 (2017).

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