Seal oil may help treat nerve damage in diabetics: study

Seal oil may help treat nerve damage in diabetics: study
Seal oil supplement can help stop and reverse nerve damaged in diabetes patients, a new study claims.

Diabetic neuropathy is a form of nerve damage caused by diabetes. Symptoms vary from patient to patient, but can include tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, a feeling of burning in the hands and feet, constant pain and difficulty walking, researchers said.

Researchers including those from Krembil Neuroscience Centre in Canada found that patients who ingested an omega-3 supplement derived from seal oil twice a day over a 12-month period reported an increase in corneal nerve fibre length.

"This study is the first to show that targeted nutritional invention can stop and reverse small fibre damage," said Vera Bril from University Health Network in Canada.

Researchers studied about 40 patients focusing primarily on corneal nerve fibre length. Located at the front of the eye, the cornea has the highest density of nerves in the body.

Damage to these nerves, or loss of corneal nerve fibre length, is considered a biomarker for the progression of Type 1 diabetes, researchers said.

Researchers investigated the effects of the omega-3 seal oil supplement on nerve structure and found that patients on average experienced a 29 per cent increase in corneal nerve fibre length, which is considered to be representative of small nerve fibre regeneration in other parts of the body.

"These findings suggest that use of this supplement may have the potential to have a regenerative effect," said Evan Lewis from Krembil Neuroscience Centre.

The study was published in the journal Neurology.

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