Essential Fatty Acids and Diet for Crohn's Disease

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Essential Fatty Acids and Diet for Crohn's Disease

Reference: Lorenz-Meyer H, Bauer P, Nicolay C, et al. Omega-3 fatty acids and low carbohydrate diet for maintenance of remission in Crohn's disease. Scand J Gastroent 1996; 31:778-85.

Summary: Two different treatments were investigated in this study involving 204 patients with Crohn's disease. All study volunteers had recently had a Crohn's disease flare-up with prednisone administered to induce remission. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: those taking two capsules containing 550 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 300 mg docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) three times daily; those eating a diet with 84 g of carbohydrate a day; or placebo capsules. A significant decline in serum triglyceride levels in patients taking the EPA/DHA capsules compared to patients taking placebo indicated good compliance. However, compliance with the diet was very poor, as indicated by diet diaries and direct patient reports of inability to fully comply.

At the end of the 12 month study, there was no significant difference in the number of acute relapses of Crohn's disease in patients taking the EPA/DHA capsules compared to those taking the placebo. There was some evidence that patients with Crohn's disease of the colon may have had greater benefit from EPA/DHA therapy than those with only their small intestines affected. For the few patients who adhered to the diet, relapse was less likely than in the placebo group. It was unclear from the study results if patients stopped complying with the diet because symptoms returned (i.e. the diet was ineffective) or if the patients stopped complying and then symptoms returned (i.e. the diet was effective but difficult to follow). There were no significant adverse effects reported.

Natural Product Research Consultants, Inc.

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