Saturday, 12 April 2008

No Chrons disease benefits with Omega-3s

There have been studies in the past that seemed to support the anti inflammatory potential of omega-3 fatty acids, but the most recent study seems to suggest that the oils are not effective for managing Chrons disease.

The Authors of the research said in the Journal of the American Medical Association that "Our results are important because the use of alternative medicines in general, and omega-3 free fatty acid formulations in particular, is widespread among patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)"

People started to use omega-3 after the positive findings of some research conducted by Italian researchers in 1996 in the New England Journal of Medicine. Because of the most recent findings, the researchers said that "we do not endorse this practice (of using omega-3), since patients with Chrons disease who are at risk for relapse would be better served by taking medications of known efficacy".

Dr. Brian Feagan at The University of Western Ontario in London, Canada led the new international study on omega-3 and Chrons Disease that included two massive tests involving seven hundred and thirty eight Chrons patients in the US, Europe, Israel, and Canada.

The importance of this large scale test cannot be over estimated as smaller trials often overestimate the true effects, that why it is important to conduct large-scale, randomised, multi-location tests in order to confirm preliminary results.

Chrons disease, current affects about one in 400 people in the west, Crohn's disease is currently incurable so patients are mostly looking to control the inflammation, (known as flare ups), relieve symptoms and prolong the time spent when the disease is in remission. And because of the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, the researchers wanted to test their effects on for Chrons disease patients.

Main results and Details of the Omega-3 Study and Chrons

The research was undertaken as mentioned before in two large trials involving 363 and 375 patients using high doses of omega-3 free fatty acids in Chrons disease patients who were in remission. The people with chrons were randomly given either a placebo or a daily omega-3 supplement that lasted for a total of 58 weeks.

The omega-3 supplement provided a dose of four grams of omega-3 per day, which consisted of 50% to 60% eicosapentanonic acid (EPA) and 15% to 25% docosahexanoic acid (DHA). These doses were placed in a delayed release soft gelatin capsules.

The researchers found no significant differences in relapse rates between people in the omega-3 and placebo groups in either trial. In one of the trials, 31.6% of patients in the omega-3 group experienced a relapse within the 360 days, compared to 35.7% of people with chrons who were in the placebo group. The other trial shoed 47.8% of patients in the omega-3 group experienced a relapse within 360 days, compared to 48.8% of chrons patients who were in the in the placebo group.
So basically high doses of omega-3 free fatty acids did not reduce the rate of relapse in people with Chrons disease.

On the plus side there is a lot of research that supports the role of omega-3 fatty acids for health in hearts this was first discovered in the 1970s by a group of Danish researchers and this recent report seemed to back up those findings.

Book on Chrons Disease
Living with Crohn's Disease from Amazon (USA)

Living with Crohn's Disease from Amazon (UK)

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association
Volume 299, Number 14, Pages 1690-1697
"Omega-3 Free Fatty Acids for theMaintenance of Remission in Crohn Disease: The EPIC Randomized Controlled Trials"
Authors: B.G. Feagan, W.J. Sandborn, U. Mittmann, S. Bar-Meir, G. D'Haens, M. Bradette, A. Cohen, C. Dallaire, T.P. Ponich, J.W.D. McDonald, X. Hebuterne, P. Pare, P. Klvana, Y. Niv, S. Ardizzone, O. Alexeeva, A. Rostom, G. Kiudelis, J. Spleiss, D. Gilgen, M.K. Vandervoort, C.J. Wong, G.Y. Zou, A. Donner, P. Rutgeerts

1 comment:

Chadwick said...

Can I make a suggestion - spell Crohn's correctly and more people might be able to find you.

Great blog though. Thanks for sharing.