Omega-3 fish oils may benefit lupus activity as well as cardiovascular effects for patients with lupus, according to research presented recently at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, Mass.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (also called SLE or lupus) is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, lungs, nervous system, and other organs of the body. Patients with lupus may also develop premature cardiovascular disease. Researchers randomly assigned 60 patients with lupus in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial to determine the effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on disease activity and endothelial function.
The investigators employed various methods to measure lupus disease activity and to study endothelial function and cell damaging free radical molecules in this 24-week study.
At the end of the study, participants who had been taking omega-3 fish oil showed significant improvement in all areas of measurement, including improved blood vessel function and a reduction in cell damaging molecules—resulting in potential cardiovascular benefits. There was also a significant improvement in a number of the symptoms of active lupus.
“This study confirms the beneficial effects of omega-3 fish oils in improving the symptoms of SLE and also provides evidence for the potential cardioprotective effect they may have in this group of patients,” said Stephen Wright, MD, specialist registrar in rheumatology, department of therapeutics and musculoskeletal education & research unit, Queen’s University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and lead investigator in the study.
The ACR is an organization of and for physicians, health professionals, and scientists that advances rheumatology through programs of education, research, advocacy and practice support that foster excellence in the care of people with or at risk for arthritis and rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases.
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