Fish Oil Might Help Relieve MS

Omega-3 fatty acids ease immune dysfunction, study suggests

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FRIDAY, Aug. 24, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids could benefit multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, a U.S. study finds.

Omega-3 fatty acids contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which affect blood proteins called matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) produced by the immune cells of MS patients.

The new study was conducted by researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University and the VA Medical Center in Portland. They had 10 MS patients receive 9.6 grams of fish oil per day.

After three months of taking the fish oil, the researchers noted a 58 percent decrease in MMP-9 levels secreted from the MS patients' immune cells. There was also a significant increase in EPA and DHA levels in the patient's red blood cell membranes.

"The findings confirm previous research findings that suggest the intake of fish oil containing omega-3 fatty acids could provide a measure of relief for those with MS, a disease that is progressive, debilitating, and without a cure," lead researcher L. Shinto said in a prepared statement.

The study was presented this week at the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians annual meeting, in Palm Springs, Calif.

More information

The American Medical Association has more about MS.

SOURCE: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, news release, Aug. 22, 2007

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