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Clinical Investigations: COPD |

Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on Inflammatory Markers in COPD*

Wataru Matsuyama, MD, PhD; Hideo Mitsuyama, MD; Masaki Watanabe, MD, PhD; Ken-ichi Oonakahara, MD; Ikkou Higashimoto, MD, PhD; Mitsuhiro Osame, MD, PhD; Kimiyoshi Arimura, MD, PhD
Author and Funding Information

*From the Division of Respiratory Medicine, Respiratory and Stress Care Center, Kagoshima University Hospital, Kagoshima, Japan.

Correspondence to: Wataru Matsuyama, MD, PhD, Division of Respiratory Medicine, Respiratory and Stress Care Center, Kagoshima University Hospital, Sakuragaoka 8–35-1, Kagoshima 890-8520, Japan; e-mail: vega@xa2.so-net.ne.jp



Chest. 2005;128(6):3817-3827. doi:10.1378/chest.128.6.3817
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Background: COPD, the fifth-leading cause of death worldwide, is characterized by chronic inflammation. However, no available agent can effectively cure this inflammation. A dietary supplement containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) has anti-inflammatory effects. In this study, we hypothesized that nutritional support with omega-3 PUFA-rich diets may be useful for treating COPD, and we compared the clinical features and inflammatory mediator levels between the COPD patients who received an omega-3 PUFA-rich supplement and those who received a nonrich supplement.

Methods: Sixty-four COPD patients received 400 kilocalories per day of an omega-3 PUFA-rich supplement (n-3 group) or an omega-3 PUFA-nonrich supplement (n-6 group) for 2 years. We prospectively investigated the clinical features of these patients and measured the levels of inflammatory mediators.

Results: In 6-min walk testing, the dyspnea Borg scale and decrease of arterial oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry significantly improved in the n-3 group. Leukotriene B4 levels in serum and sputum and tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-8 levels in sputum decreased significantly in the n-3 group, while there was no significant change in the n-6 group. Two patients in the n-3 group and three patients in the n-6 group had mild diarrhea, and three patients in the n-3 group and three patients in the n-6 group had nausea; however, their symptoms were controllable and they improved with treatment. With multiple regression analysis, it was proved that the omega-3 PUFA-rich diet significantly contributed to the change in cytokine levels in this study.

Conclusion: We suggest nutritional support with an omega-3 PUFA-rich diet as a safe and practical method for treating COPD.

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