Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Stop Eating Fish Oil! Omega-3 Fatty Acids Don't Help Prevent Crohn's Relapse

April 8, 2008 - Taking omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful for many things, but maybe not for preventing a relapse of Crohn's disease.

Two related studies show that omega-3s are not effective in preventing inflammation associated with Crohn's disease.

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that can affect anywhere along the digestive tract. With Crohn's, a patient may experience periods of remission and recurrence.

Researchers looked at whether high doses of omega-3s worked as maintenance therapy in patients with Crohn's disease in remission. A total of 738 people participated in two studies. No significant differences were observed between the two treatment groups in either trial.

In one study, 363 participants were assigned randomly to take either a daily omega-3 supplement or a placebo for 52 weeks. In the second study, 375 participants took the pills for 58 weeks.

Researchers say the results in the first and second study were similar. Here are some of the findings:

In the first study:

  • 54 patients treated with omega-3s had a relapse.
  • 62 patients who received a placebo relapsed.

There was no statistically significant difference in rate of relapse between the treatment and placebo groups.

In the second study:

  • 84 patients who took an omega-3 gelatin capsule had a relapse.
  • 94 patients who received a placebo had a relapse.

There was no statistically significant difference in rate of relapse between the treatment and placebo groups.


Gary said...

Hello there,

I take Omega 3 and 6 fish oils - purely because they are good for so many things. I had heard the claims that they could aid relapse of crohn's but didn't believe it - as I've been on them for years (before I was even diagnosed) and they didn't seem to stop me getting the condition or having flare-ups.

Interesting study though.

Jennifer said...

My best friend's brother was diagnosed with Crohn's years ago. After some very shaky years, he is now a husband, father and career-person himself. It's interesting to read through your blog and see your similar paths. I think it's great that you've turned your experiences into an educational tool.

In case you're not aware of it, I can recommend another resource for you: Mayo Clinic has several online articles on Crohn's. An overview is at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/crohns-disease/DS00104
and from there, you can link to several more specialized articles. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll tell you that I do some writing for Mayo Clinic -- but I didn't write any of these articles. I've just recommended them to 'friends in need!')

Crohn's Disease Blog