We investigated whether omega-3 fatty acid intake and erythrocyte membrane omega-3 fatty acid levels are associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes in children with islet autoimmunity (IA).
The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young is following children at increased genetic risk for type 1 diabetes for the development of persistent IA, as defined as being positive for glutamic acid decarboxylase 65, i, or insulin autoantibodies on two consecutive visits, and then for the development of type 1 diabetes, as diagnosed by a physician. One hundred and sixty-seven children with persistent IA were followed for a mean of 4.8 yr, and 45 of these developed type 1 diabetes at a mean age of 8.7 yr. Erythrocyte membrane fatty acids (as a percent of total lipid) and dietary fatty acid intake (estimated via food frequency questionnaire) were analyzed as time-varying covariates in proportional hazards survival analysis, with follow-up time starting at detection of the first autoantibody.
Neither dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids nor omega-6 fatty acids were associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes, adjusting for human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR, family history of type 1 diabetes, age at first IA positivity, maternal age, maternal education, and maternal ethnicity. Adjusting for HLA-DR, family history of type 1 diabetes and age at first IA positivity, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid levels of erythrocyte membranes were not associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes.
In this observational study, omega-3 fatty acid intake and status are not associated with conversion to type 1 diabetes in children with IA.
Keywords: dietary intake, IA, omega-3 fatty acids, type 1 diabetes mellitus