Skip to main content

12-09-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Diet rich in omega-3, bilberries, whole grains reduces CV risk markers


Free abstract

MedWire News: A diet high in fatty fish, bilberries, and whole-grain products may improve endothelial dysfunction and inflammation in overweight and obese individuals at high risk for developing diabetes, report researchers.

"Our observations hint at a potential role of the healthy diet in lowering high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) close to the levels seen in statin users," they say.

Vanessa de Mello (University of Eastern Finland) and team randomly assigned 104 individuals with impaired glucose metabolism IGM to a healthy diet, a whole-grain-enriched diet (WGED), or a control diet for a 12-week period.

As reported in the journal Diabetologia, the healthy diet required participants to replace their usual cereal products with products of at least a 50% whole grain composition. They also ate fatty fish (100-150 g per meal) three times per week, and consumed three portions of either frozen, pureed, or powdered bilberries (equivalent of 300 g fresh bilberries) per day.

The WGED participants consumed the same cereal products as the healthy diet group, but were also given a whole-grain oat bar once a day.

In the control group, participants replaced the breads they usually consumed with refined wheat breads, and replaced other cereal products with low-fiber products. They ate fatty fish no more than once a week and excluded bilberries from their diet.

The investigators examined participants' blood samples and measured their weight and height at baseline and at week 12.

They found that, after adjusting for confounding factors including body mass index, insulin sensitivity, and energy intake, the concentration of plasma E-selectin decreased significantly in the healthy diet group, by a median of 8% by the end of the study. In the WGED and control groups, it had increased by 1% and 2%, respectively.

This occurred both overall and also after excluding participants on statin therapy, note the authors.

They also found that plasma levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP decreased in the healthy diet group by a median of 17%, and by 27% in the WGED group. This indicates that both the health and WGED diet may have an anti-inflammatory effect, comments the team.

Further analysis revealed that increases in plasma concentration of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber intake were significantly associated with a decrease in plasma E-selectin and that a higher intake of wholegrain test breads was associated with a lower hsCRP level.

"It seems possible that the potential anti-atherogenic effect of a healthy diet could be through other mechanisms than the lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, including, for example, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol metabolism, and anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties," concludes the team.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sally Robertson