Washington: Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may not help patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, according to a new study.Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, incurable disease of the central nervous system that affects about 2.5 million people worldwide. Some patients use, or have tried, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to control the disease because the essential fatty acids could theoretically have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects in multiple sclerosis, the authors wrote in their study background.Oivind Torkildsen, M.D., Ph.D., of Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway, and colleagues included 92 patients with multiple sclerosis in their double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to examine whether omega-3 fatty acid supplementation as a monotherapy (single therapy) or in combination with subcutaneous (under the skin) interferon beta-1a could reduce disease activity.Half of the patients (46) were given omega-3 fatty acids – 1350 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 850 mg of docosahexaenoic acid daily - and the other half (46) were administered placebo.After six months, all patients received interferon beta-1a three times a week for another 18 months. Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure disease activity by the number of new T1-weighted gadolinium-enhancing lesions in the brain.“The results from this study did not show any beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on disease activity in multiple sclerosis as a monotherapy or in combination with interferon beta,” the authors commented.They noted that their results were in contrast with two other studies reporting a possible positive effect.
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