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Omega-3s Improve Lung Function in COPD

Study shows two-year diet of omega-3 improves exercise tests

FRIDAY, Dec. 16 (HealthDay News) -- A diet rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) can improve lung function and exercise capacity in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), according to a report in the December issue of Chest.

Wataru Matsuyama, M.D., Ph.D, from Kagoshima University Hospital in Japan, and colleagues randomized 64 patients with COPD to either a 400 kilocalorie omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acid supplement for two years. Lung function, exercise capacity and inflammatory mediators were measured every three months.

Leukotrine B4, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-8 levels in sputum were reduced by up to half in those receiving omega-3 fatty acids while no change was found in those taking omega-6. Mild improvements in dyspnea and oxygen saturation were noted during a six-minute walk test in those receiving omega-3 fatty acids.

The authors suggest the improvement may be due to the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3s.

"We suggest nutritional support with an omega-3 PUFA-rich diet as a safe and practical method for treating COPD," the authors conclude.

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