Omega-3 fatty acids not effective for treating Multiple Sclerosis, US study

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th April 2012

New research has found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements are not associated with beneficial effects for treating patients with multiple sclerosis.

The research, undertaken by Dr Øivind Torkildsen, of Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, in Norway, was published this week in ‘Online First’ by Archives of Neurology.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, incurable disease of the central nervous system that affects about 2.5 million people worldwide.

Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation has previously been popular among MS sufferers to control the disease because the essential fatty acids could theoretically have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

Dr Torkildsen and colleagues worked with 92 patients with multiple sclerosis to examine whether omega-3 fatty acid supplementation could reduce disease activity.

Half of the patients (46) were given omega-3 fatty acids and the other half (46) were administered placebo.

The results from this study did not show any beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on disease activity in multiple sclerosis.

However, the authors comment their data do not suggest that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was harmful.

Dr Torkildsen noted that their results were in contrast with two other previous studies reporting a possible positive effect.