Don't Depend on Fatty Acids to Avoid a Relapse

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • In the past, both alternative and mainstream health sources have promised that Omega fatty acids, found in some seafood, may reduce flare-ups of Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.


    Just few weeks ago, Elizabeth wrote a SharePost, Omega 6 and Sushi - You Choose,
    warning that eating too much omega fatty acids may even have the opposite effect, causing inflammation in the body, and therefore may not be a good idea if gut inflammation is already a problem. There are now two large, randomized studies to back Elizabeth up.


    Both of the studies I am referring to involved patients with Crohn's disease who had experienced a Crohn's Disease flare up in the past year. As part of the research, one group of patients was given fatty acids, and one group was given a placebo. Then, over the next year, the researchers measured the rate of disease relapse between the two groups. They found no significant differences between the rate of disease relapse

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    between those receiving a placebo and those receiving fatty acids (indicating the fatty acids did not prevent flare ups). These studies were conducted with over 700 participants in 98 sites in Canada, Europe, Israel, and the U.S. from January 2003 through February 2007.


    Previous trials of omega fatty acids and Crohn's disease have had mixed results. Some of the past studies have found that omega fatty acids did improve symptoms. So, what is a consumer to do? One answer is to understand that the results from these latest studies are not the final answer to fatty acids and Crohn's disease. However, research such as this from large, randomized trials definitely adds to the body of knowledge in very important ways. Understanding these results may be enough to convince some that if you are at risk for relapse, you may be better served by taking medications known for efficacy, and not to rely only on omega fatty acids.


    Another approach to interpreting to these findings may be found by going back and rereading Elizabeth's SharePost. Elizabeth eats fish several times a week because it is easy on her stomach and doesn't cause GI upset. If you have IBD, and fish is easy for you to digest, this may be reason enough for you to eat fish several times a week,
    without expectations that it is a cure-all for flare-ups.


    Find more IBD diet information:

    What to Eat with IBD

    Diets, diets, diets...What's an IBDer to do?

    Corn and Its Consequences


Published On: August 20, 2008