Omega-3 Seal Oil Supplement Found To Reverse Small Nerve Damage

An omega-3 supplement derived from seal oil was found to promote nerve regeneration in people with type 1 diabetes.

Researchers at the Krembil Neuroscience Center in Toronto reported an increase in corneal nerve fiber length in patients taking an omega-3 supplement twice daily for 12 months. It was the first study to show that a specific nutritional intervention can inhibit and reverse damage in small nerve fibers.

“Nothing like this has been attempted in humans before,” said Dr. Evan Lewis, a neurologist and one of the study's authors. “Results from this trial are a very important step towards a clinical therapy for people with diabetic neuropathy.”

Diabetic neuropathy is a complication of diabetes characterized by nerve damage. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, burning, or loss of sensation typically in the hands and feet. There are no treatments currently available that stop or reverse neuropathy’s effects.

The Toronto study involved 40 participants and primarily focused on nerve fiber length in the eye’s cornea. The cornea is dense with nerve fibers, and damage to these nerves, or loss of fiber length, is an indicator of type 1 diabetes progression.

The study participants experienced, on average, a 29 percent increase in the length of their corneal fibers. The investigators believe this represents regeneration of small nerve fibers in other areas of the body as well.

“These findings suggest that use of this supplement may have the potential to have a regenerative effect,” says Dr Lewis. “Our goal was to collect enough data to power a randomized clinical trial and we believe this study lays the groundwork for that to happen.”

The research team is now planning a randomized controlled study with a larger group of participants.

Source: Science Daily
Photo credit: Ze’ev Barkan

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