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Daily Dose: Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake May Slow Pulmonary Fibrosis Disease Progression

Daily Dose: Higher Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake May Slow Pulmonary Fibrosis Disease Progression / Image Credit: ©New Africa/AdobeStock
©New Africa/AdobeStock

Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

Last week, we reported on findings from a study published in the journal Chest that examined the associations of plasma omega-3 fatty acid levels with disease progression and transplant-free survival in patients with pulmonary fibrosis.

The analysis

Researchers collected plasma samples from 3 independent research cohorts of patients with clinically diagnosed pulmonary fibrosis and fatty acid concentrations via ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography. The primary exposure variable of interest, the N-3 index, measures the percentage of EPA and DHA in red blood cell membranes. Investigators examined associations of plasma omega-3 fatty acids with changes in forced vital capacity and lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (Dlco) over 12 months. They evaluated transplant-free survival using Cox proportional hazard models.

The findings

The final cohort comprised 309 individuals whose mean age was 70 years.

The team’s hypothesis, that higher EPA/DHA concentrations would be associated with slower disease progression, was confirmed with results showing that 1-unit increment in log-transformed N-3 plasma index level was associated with a DLco change of 1.43 mL/min/mm Hg per 12 months (95% CI, 0.46-2.41). Transplant-free survival also was associated with higher N-3 index values, with the hazard ratio calculated at 0.44 (95% CI, 0.24-0.83). The investigators found no significant association between N-3 index and FVC.

Authors' comment

"Further research is needed to investigate underlying biological mechanisms and whether omega-3 fatty acids are a potential disease-modifying therapy."

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