Fish Oil and Emphysema, Cystic Fibrosis

Can Cystic Fibrosis Patients Absorb Omega-3s by Mouth?

GENT, BELGIUM. There is evidence that cystic fibrosis patients with high plasma phospholipid levels of omega-3 fatty acids have better lung function than patients with lower levels. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is, unfortunately, often accompanied by fat malabsorption so it is not clear whether oral fat supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids would benefit CF patients.

Researchers at the State University of Gent set up an experiment to see if CF patients are able to absorb omega-3s effectively by mouth. The trial involved 9 CF patients (4 females and 5 males) ranging in age from 7 to 20 years. All had been diagnosed with pancreatic insufficiency and had poor fat absorption despite supplementing with pancreatic enzyme preparations. The patients were assigned to receive either 6 fish oil supplement capsules per day for a month followed by 6 placebo capsules for a month or 6 placebo capsules daily for a month followed by 6 fish oil supplement capsules daily for a month. Each fish oil supplement capsule contained 335 mg of salmon oil and 165 mg of commercial soy lecithin and provided 152 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. The placebo capsules contained 500 mg of pharmaceutical-grade liquid paraffin.

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What is Cystic Fibrosis?

NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA. Researchers at the University of Sydney sought to explore the effects of fish oil and cystic fibrosis. Their results revealed that daily supplementation with fish oil capsules alleviated many of the symptoms associated with cystic fibrosis.

Cystic fibrosis is a serious, inherited childhood disease which involves a malfunctioning of the body's mucus glands. An abnormally thick mucus is produced which clogs the lungs and results in breathing difficulties. Other symptoms include persistent cough and wheezing, repeated lung infections, and a failure to gain weight.

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Can Taking Fish Oil Supplements Benefit Patients with Cystic Fibrosis?

NAPOLI, ITALY. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a serious, inherited childhood disease. The main symptoms are an abnormally thick mucus that clogs the lungs and results in breathing difficulties, failure to gain weight, repeated lung infections, and persistent cough and wheezing. It is estimated that about 1 in 2500 infants are born with the disease. There is ample evidence that it involves a combination of bacterial infection and inflammation. There is also evidence that leukotriene B4 (LTB-4) is involved in the enhanced influx of neutrophils (a special kind of white blood cell) into the lungs. Leukotriene B4, in turn, is synthesized from arachidonic acid. It is well established that the arachidonic acid content of red blood cell membranes can be significantly reduced by supplementation with EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the main components of fish oil supplements.

Read more: Fish oils benefit cystic fibrosis patients