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Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's Disease and How to Reduce Inflammation With Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Posted Sep 07 2008 7:56pm
Ulcerative Colitis is one of several chronic inflammatory diseases, usually of the large intestine, in which ulceration and wearing away of the intestinal tissue can cause severe diarrhea and some blood loss, as well as a weakened physical condition and weight loss. Treatment with omega 3 fish oil supplements have entered the medical arena, and the following is some of the information about that.

A medical study was done in Bologna and Turin, Italy, where doctors, for one year, administered fish-oil
capsules to thirty-nine patients with Crohn's Disease, three times a day. These particular patients
had already been in remission for about eight months. A control group of thirty-nine patients, all in a similar condition of remission, received capsules that contained neutral oils. The fish-oil capsules had been formulated to reduce fishy odor and to improve assimilation of Omega-3 EPA and DHA. The odor had to be reduced for this study, because until the trial was over, neither the physicians nor their patients knew which patients had been given the fish oils, and which ones had not. After a year of ingesting 2.7 grams of EPA and DHA (the healing elements in omega 3 oils) every day, twenty-three of the patients who received the fish oils were still in remission. By contrast, only eleven of the thirty-nine control patients
stayed in remission.

The story of that study is from "Omega-3 Oils," by Donald Rudin, MD and Clara Felix. Omega 3 oils have shown to support anti-inflammatory pathways in the body. Crohn's disease is an inflammatory condition, occurring sporadically in the large intestine. It is painful.

In this disease, bowel tissue contains abnormally high levels of inflammation-producing, "bad" prostaglandins from Omega-6 ARA (arachidonic acid). A prostaglandin is a hormone-like substance that helps regulate, among other activities in our body, inflammatory responses. In the patients taking the fish oil whose illness stayed in remission, red blood cell levels of ARA decreased dramatically. However, levels of Omega-3 EPA and DHA increased significantly. In general, laboratory tests indicated that inflammation decreased in the fish oil patients, but increased in the patients who were given the other oils.

In ulcerative colitis, as in Crohn's disease, bowel tissue shows high levels of the unwanted ARA-produced prostaglandins. The more severe the symptoms, the higher the levels of these inflammation producing prostaglandins. In a study, conducted at Washington University School of medicine, by William Stenson, twenty-four patients with active ulcerative colitis who took fish-oil capsules for four months showed a big drop in the prostaglandins.

In other studies done with fish oil supplements, a decrease in rectal bleeding showed, and also patients who had suffered weight loss began to gain weight. Since at this time there is no cure for Crohn's Disease or ulcerative colitis, I think it is exciting that there is some improvement gained with a natural product - a food supplement. Omega 3 fatty acids seem to play an important role.
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