Omega-3 Fats Can Improve Lupus Symptoms
April 26, 2003
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