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Supplements May be Detrimental to Acute Lung Injury Patients

Posted Nov 04 2011 10:16pm
Posted on 2011-11-02 06:00:00 in Dietary Supplementation | Fatty Acids, Lipids & Oils | Respiratory | Vitamins |

In direct contrast to previous studies, dietary supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids have been found not to improve the outcomes of patients with an acute lung injury. Todd W. Rice, M.D., M.Sc., of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and colleagues conducted a study to examine the effects of supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids, gamma linoleic acid (GLA), and antioxidants on clinical outcomes in patients with acute lung injury. The researchers hypothesized that a twice-daily dose of these supplements would reduce inflammatory mediators, and improve certain clinical outcomes. However, results showed that patients receiving the supplements spent more days on a ventilator, and more days in the intensive care unit (ICU). Furthermore, 38 of the 143 patients (26.6 %) treated with supplements died prior to day 60 or hospital discharge compared with 21 of the 129 (16.3%) patients in the control group. When adjusted for baseline variables previously shown to be associated with mortality in acute injury, 60-day mortality in the supplement group was 25.1% versus 17.6% in the control group; however this increase in death rate was not statistically significant. Supplementation also offered no protection against hospital acquired infection. The authors concluded: "This study suggests that twice-daily enteral supplementation of n-3 fatty acids, GLA, and antioxidants change plasma levels of n-3 fatty acids but do not improve clinical outcomes or biomarkers of systemic inflammation in patients with acute lung injury and in fact may be harmful."

TW Rice, AP Wheeler, BT Thompson, BP deBoisblanc, J Steingrub, P Rock, for the NHLBI ARDS Clinical Trials Network. Enteral omega-3 fatty acid, γ-linolenic acid, and antioxidant supplementation in acute lung injury. JAMA. 2011;14:1513-1614.

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