Fatty acids found in fish like tuna and salmon could help to reduce the symptoms of lupus, an immune disorder, according to a study.
The study involved 52 patients with active lupus who were followed for a six-month period. Participants took either fish-oil supplements three times per day, a copper supplement, copper plus fish oil or a placebo.
While the copper was of no benefit, all of the patients taking fish oil had improvements in inflammation, fatigue, which is the most debilitating of lupus symptoms, and overall quality of life, according to researchers.
Reportedly, improvements ranged from drastic to mild.
Lupus is a disease in which the immune system attacks the body's organs and tissues, leading to painful or swollen joints, fever, skin rashes, kidney or heart problems and extreme fatigue.
The cause of lupus is not known, and there is no cure for the disease. Steroids and other drugs are often prescribed to manage the condition, however these can result in serious side effects.
During the study, some patients taking fish oils and steroids were able to reduce their dose of steroids, according to researchers.
Lupus affects 40 to 50 people per 100,000, and women around the age of 30 years are most commonly affected.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils are essential for growth and are thought to fight inflammation and affect immune function. Fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, tuna and salmon are good sources.
Researchers say the findings indicate that people with lupus could benefit from increasing dietary intake of fish oil supplements or fatty fish.
BBC News March 11, 2003
Always remember omega-3 fats are essential to your, and your children's, health. Fish itself would be an excellent source of these fatty acids except that, unfortunately, patients consuming nearly every type of fish these days are showing high levels of mercury in their systems.
This is because fish from most sources, including fresh water, farm-raised or ocean, are contaminated with mercury--a sad fact since aside from this contamination fish is one of the healthiest meats on the planet. If you do consume fish, you should be certain the provider can demonstrate that the fish are free of detectable levels of mercury and other toxins.
Fortunately, I have good news. I have done some research and have found a safe, clean source of delicious salmon. The salmon has been lab-tested and is now available in our store. Not only is the salmon tasty and full of flavor, it is also free of contaminants and an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Another excellent source for animal-based omega-3 is krill oil. Unlike plant sources such as walnuts or flax seeds, it is high in two fatty acids crucial to human health, DHA and EPA. These two fatty acids are pivotal in preventing heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Your brain is also highly dependent on DHA. Low DHA levels have been linked to depression, schizophrenia, memory loss, and a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's.
In my research I discovered that krill oil has benefits over and above those offered by regular fish oil. First of all, being on the bottom of the food chain, krill do not bioaccumulate mercury and other toxins like other marine sources.
But in addition to that, krill oil also contains powerful antioxidants and the omega 3 fats are attached to phospholipids that dramatically increase their absorption, especially into brain tissue. So although I still recommend fish oil in some cases, I believe krill oil is an EVEN BETTER option for most people, for these reasons.
For more information about why I believe krill oil is an optimal source of omega 3 fats, please see this link.
As for cod liver oil, which is another commonly recommended source of omega 3 fats, I no longer recommend it for most people as it also contains vitamins A and D in inverse, and potentially unhealthy, ratios to each other.