Keep Heart Disease at Bay with Safflower Oil Everyday

Daily dose of safflower oil may reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) With all the side effects of diabetes drugs, it's good news to learn a commonly used cooking oil can help diabetic women keep their health under control.

New research findings show that obese, postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes can benefit from taking a daily dose of safflower oil for 16 weeks. The safflower oil can improve certain measures of health including good cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and inflammation - health measures that are linked to increased risks of heart disease and diabetes.

dailyRx Insight: Add safflower oil to reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

A team of researchers looked at the effects of adding safflower oil to diabetic women's current diets. After 16 weeks of taking the supplement, the women became more sensitive to insulin - a hormone important in turning blood sugar into energy. People develop type 2 diabetes when they have a lower insulin sensitivity.

The daily safflower oil supplement also reduced two different proteins in the blood that are signs of high blood sugar and inflammation. A previous study by the same researchers showed that the supplement lowered blood sugar levels.

What's more, safflower oil increased the amount of "good" cholesterol (or HDL cholesterol) in the women.

According to lead author Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, these findings suggest that safflower oil not only has the potential to reduce heart risks in women with type 2 diabetes, but it also may reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes in healthy individuals. Belury recommends that everyone makes sure to include oils like safflower oil in their diet.

For their study, Belury and colleagues examined how taking safflower oil would improve cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin sensitivity and inflammation in obese women with type 2 diabetes. They found that the women's insulin sensitivity increased by 2.7 percent. Their levels of C-reactive protein (a protein that shows up during inflammation) decreased by 17.5 percent.

The women also experienced a 0.64 percent decrease in HbA1C, a blood protein that indicates excess sugar in the blood. While that may seem like a small decrease, the researchers say it is a significant indication that blood sugar is down.

Nearly 26 million individuals are affected by diabetes in the United States each year, with about seven million people going undiagnosed. Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease with no cure in which a person has high blood sugar because the body does not produce enough insulin (Type 1) or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (Type 2). There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. Several groups of oral drugs, are effective for Type 2, such as Glucophage®, Glucotrol®, and Prandin®, among many others. The therapeutic combination in Type 2 may eventually include injected insulin as symptoms worsen. Along with the presence of physical symptoms, a common blood test known as the A1c can test for the disease.

The study is published in Clinical Nutrition.

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Review Date: 
March 22, 2011
Last Updated:
March 22, 2011