Omega-3 for Treatment of Crohn’s Disease

Alternative and complementary treatments have always been a choice by many to treat Crohn’s disease. Of which omega-3 fatty acids, a polyunsaturated fat, have topped these alternatives, but will it suffice together with all other medications?

The answer would be yes, according to studies.

Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are long chained fatty acids that can’t be produced by the body but are badly needed by almost all bodily system. The cardiovascular is one of the most benefited systems of omega-3 fatty acids. The said fats can help protect the heart and even decrease risk of heart attacks.

Aside from the heart, omega-3 is said and found out to have good effects on eye health, can reduce LDL or the bad cholesterol, lessen chronic pain symptoms, help reduce menstrual symptoms and prevent certain kinds of cancer.

And now, Crohn’s disease has been added in its long list of medical condition to assist into cure.

Omega-3 and Crohn’s Disease

In my last article, Crohn’s Disease, the basics of the medical condition has already been discussed. So now we will focus on an alternative treatment – the omega-3.

There are two types of omega-3 fatty acids that are commonly known and are from marine life sources, the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Another one is the ALA and it can be found from the plant sources. For CD, the first two fatty acids are given emphasis with.

Omega-3’s EPA and DHA have been highlighted in terms of its anti-inflammatory properties and its capacity to strengthen immune system.

Omega-3 therefore is beneficial in terms of its inflammation fighting capacity since it can soothe the guts’ swelling.  Another study had tested and proven omega-3’s benefits in terms of CD’s remission. 59% of patients with CD had maintained their remission compared to those who had been given placebo.

In another study conducted and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, it has been found that 33% reduction in the CD relapse has been recorded with those who take omega-3 fatty acids.

Another evidence pointed out by experts is the diets of Eskimos. Eskimos has high consumption of oily fish, major source of omega-3 which has been the major link in the low prevalence of Crohn’s disease among them.

Omega-3 Sources

The most famous omega-3 source is fish and its oil. Known fish to have beneficial omega-3 includes mackerel, tuna, herring, salmon, tilapia and sardines. Calamari and krill though are good sources of omega-3 as well. Processed essential fatty acids from these marine produce are capsulated and distilled to be distributed as omega-3 fish oil, krill oil and calamari oil capsules for supplements.

Lesser known options of omega-3 source include flaxseed, Chia seeds and walnuts.

Although fresh and natural options for consumption is advisable, most would prefer the omega-3 in supplement form due to the rise of the mercury issues that most cold water fish are exposed to. Although of course there are a lot of exceptions since there are shores that are still free of toxic wastes and mercuric content mostly dumped by the advent of industrializations.

Conclusion

Although omega-3 fatty acids supplementation may not cure Crohn’s disease overall, it can certainly dampen its effects in terms of inflammation and in strengthening the immune system health. Higher anti-inflammatory EPA and DHA rose in key immune system cells and pro-inflammatory factors in immune system cells has been lowered as said in year 2000 research. And since there is no highly effective treatment exists for CD, the use of alternative and complementary treatments can help a lot and can ease a lot of burden among CD patient.

Image Credit: Happy Sleepy via Flickr

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