Fish oil helps heal bed sores of the critically ill

December 4, 2012

Chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, fish oil can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation in the skin and joints, and promote healthy fetal development. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher has found that it has a positive effect on bedsores, too.

A common problem in critically ill patients, result from constant pressure on the skin and underlying tissue due to prolonged sitting or lying down. Painful and prone to infection, the need to be healed, says Prof. Pierre Singer of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. With Ph.D. candidate Miriam Theilla at the Rabin Medical Center, he designed a randomized experiment to determine the impact of dietary fish oil supplements on the bedsores of critically ill patients.

After a three week period of adding eight grams of fish oil to their patients' daily diet, the researchers found not only a significant lessening of pain and discomfort from bedsores—a 20 to 25 percent improvement, according to the Pressure Ulcer Scale for Healing—but also a more efficient immune system and a reduction to inflammation throughout the body. The results were reported in the and the .

Boosting the immune system

Inspired by the results of a previous study showing that dietary for critically ill patients raised in body tissues, Prof. Singer and his fellow researchers sought to determine whether the supplement could also help heal bedsores, which are also formed by a , reduced blood flow, and skin wetness.

To test this theory, the researchers developed a randomized study with 40 critically ill patients. Half the patients were given standard hospital diets, and the rest had a daily addition of eight grams of fish oil added in their food. After a three-week period, the patients in the fish oil group had an average of 20 to 25 percent improvement in the healing of their bedsores compared to the control group.

Beyond the size of the bedsores, the researchers also measured different immune parameters and found that the patients in the fish oil group had experienced a boost in their immune system and a reduction in swelling. "We saw a modification in the expression of a group of molecules associated with directing leukocytes, or white blood cells, in the direction of the wound, which could explain the improved healing," explains Prof. Singer. In addition, researchers noted a significant decrease in the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, which is associated with inflammation and linked to viral and bacterial infections, rheumatic diseases, tissue injury, and necrosis.

Natural pain management?

Next, Prof. Singer and his fellow researchers plan to explore the use of fish oil as a method of natural pain management. By measuring the intensity of pain experience in post-surgical patients who have undergone either knee or hip replacements and comparing it to the amount of fish oil the patient has received, they hope to determine whether the nutrient-rich oil can also reduce their patients' suffering.

Explore further: Nothing fishy about fish oil fortified nutrition bars

Related Stories

Nothing fishy about fish oil fortified nutrition bars

September 25, 2012
In today's fast-paced society, consumers often reach for nutrition bars when looking for a healthy on-the-go snack. A new study in the September issue of the Journal of Food Science published by the Institute of Food Technologists ...

Food scientists fortify goat cheese with fish oil to deliver healthy omega-3 fatty acids

February 16, 2012
Fish oil is an underused ingredient in the food industry because of its association with a strong odor and aftertaste. A new study in the February issue of the Journal of Food Science, published by the Institute of Food Technologists, ...

Everyday fish oil capsule may provide kidney-related benefits

May 1, 2012
Over the past decade, there has been a steady stream of information promoting the health benefits of fish oil capsules. According to Dr. Louise Moist, a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, fish oil may also improve ...

Recommended for you

High-fat diet in pregnancy can cause mental health problems in offspring

July 21, 2017
A high-fat diet not only creates health problems for expectant mothers, but new research in an animal model suggests it alters the development of the brain and endocrine system of their offspring and has a long-term impact ...

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.