Fish oil able to reduce mortality in gastrointestinal injury patients with sepsis: Chinese study

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fish oil has been shown to counter immunodeficiencies in AGI patients with sepsis. ©iStock
Fish oil has been shown to counter immunodeficiencies in AGI patients with sepsis. ©iStock

Related tags: Inflammation, Fatty acid, Omega-3 fatty acid

Fish oil can the lower mortality rate from sepsis caused by acute gastrointestinal injury (AGI), according to a Chinese study.

Sepsis, a systemic inflammatory reaction brought on by serious infection, has a prominent role in AGI.

Therefore, researchers from The Second Clinical Hospital of Jinan University conducted a study to ascertain the effects of omega-3 fish oil on AGI patients suffering from severe sepsis.

They randomly separated 48 AGI patients aged 18 and above, who had been diagnosed with severe sepsis, into two groups.

Each subject in both groups was administered 50g of long-chain fatty acid (LCFA) soybean oil, but the subjects in one of the groups was also parenterally administered 10g of fish oil each.

Mortality rate down

Although there were no major differences between the two groups at baseline, the researchers found that the 60-day mortality rate was lower in the group that had been given fish oil.

During the 28-day follow-up with the study’s participants after its conclusion, the average mortality rate was observed at 27.1%, similar to the rate reported in an earlier study.

Despite all the patients having received sepsis resuscitation bundle treatment, the mortality rate in the control group was 41.7%, a factor the researchers attributed to the study’s small sample size, and / or the participants’ healthcare conditions differing from those of the previous study.

The patients who had received fish oil, on the other hand, had a much lower mortality rate of 12.5%. Their ICU stay was also considerably shorter than that of those in the control group.

Organ failure

Apart from a lowered mortality rate, the fish oil-supplemented group’s Marshall score — which measures the extent of organ failure — was significantly lower than in the control group.

At the same time, the patients who were suffering from abdominal infection “demonstrated a lower mortality rate, fewer CD3 T lymphocytes, and fewer helper / inducer T lymphocytes in the fish oil group compared with the control group"​.

The study also credited immunomodulation with alleviating abdominal infection and intra-abdominal pressure in the fish oil-supplemented AGI patients.

It further stated that patients suffering from intestinal dysfunction may have immunodeficiencies that can be countered with omega-3 fatty acids by way of modulating immune function, thereby reducing mortality rates.

The study concluded that fish oil has “positive effects in terms of improving the long-term prognosis” ​of AGI patients with severe sepsis, and that “large‑scale randomised controlled trials will need to be conducted in order to confirm the current findings”​.


Source: Pharmacognosy Magazine

“Omega-3 fish oil reduces mortality due to severe sepsis with acute gastrointestinal injury grade III”

Authors: Huaisheng Chen, et al.

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