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Supplementation of Omega-3 fatty acids in patients with ankylosing spondylitis
Department of Medical Rehabilitation, Gällivare Hospital.
Department of Medicine/Rehabilitation, Kiruna Hospital.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food and Nutrition.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food and Nutrition.
2006 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology, ISSN 0300-9742, Vol. 35, 359-362 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective: To study the effect of supplementation with omega‐3 fatty acids on disease variables and drug consumption in patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Methods: Twenty‐four patients were randomized to either a low‐dose (1.95 g omega‐3/day) or a high‐dose (4.55 g omega‐3/day) supplement. Disease activity, functional impairment, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and drug consumption were assessed during visits at baseline and at weeks 7, 14, and 21.

Results: Eighteen patients completed the study, nine patients from each group. The patients in the high‐dose group exhibited a significant decrease in disease activity according to the Bath Ankylosing Disease Activity Index (BASDAI; p = 0.038), which was not seen in the low‐dose group. Significant differences were not found on drug consumption or in functional capacity in either of the groups. No significant differences were found when comparing the results between the high‐ and low‐dose groups.

Conclusion: Omega‐3 fatty acids in adequate doses may have the capacity to decrease the disease activity of AS. However, larger and better controlled studies are needed before any further conclusions can be made on the extent of this capacity.

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Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 35, 359-362 p.
National Category
Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Research subject
Food and Nutrition
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-13549DOI: 10.1080/03009740600844357OAI: diva2:153220
Available from: 2007-05-11 Created: 2007-05-11 Last updated: 2011-10-28Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On diet in ankylosing spondylitis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On diet in ankylosing spondylitis
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis was to examine the role of diet in ankylosing spondylitis (AS). Patients were examined in: i) a postal questionnaire survey of dietary habits and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms; ii) a study on biomarkers of diet and disease activity; iii) a comparison of cardiovascular risk factors with the general population using data from the Västerbotten Intervention Programme (VIP), and; iv) a 21-week omega-3 fatty acid supplementation study regarding the effects on disease activity.

The postal survey (111 respondents) revealed no correlation between dietary habits and disease activity measured by the Bath Ankylosing Spondylitis Disease Activity Index (BASDAI). However, GI problems, and in particular GI pain, were prevalent in patients with AS irrespective of NSAID usage.Gastrointestinal pain was predicted by higher BASDAI and a higher consumption of vegetables. Overall, 30 (27%) of the patients experienced an aggravation of gastric symptoms when consuming certain foods. In the study of biomarkers (n=66) no correlation was found between diet and disease activity as assessed by BASDAI. There were, however, positive correlations between BASDAI and the content of arachidonic acid (AA) in plasma phospholipids (rs=0.39, p<0.01) and the estimated activity of the enzyme delta-5-desaturase (rs=0.37, p<0.01). This may reflect a process involved in the inflammation associated with AS that requires further investigation. Comparing data from the VIP for patients (n=89) and controls showed no significant differences regarding diet, physical activity or smoking. Nonetheless, more pronounced correlations between blood lipids and diet were identified among patients than in controls. Furthermore, the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides were lower in patients compared with controls. Lastly, in the supplementation study, a high-dose of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (4.55 grams/day) was found to lower disease activity, as measured by BASDAI, whereas low-dose treatment (1.95 grams/day) caused no change.

In conclusion, within a group of Swedish AS patients we found no correlation between ordinary dietary habits and disease activity. Diet in western populations of patients with AS may, however, be of importance for gastric symptoms and for cardiovascular risk factors. The finding of a lowered disease activity in patients on high-dose supplementation with long-chain omega-3 fatty acids indicates that a radical dietary shift may influence disease activity. The findings of a positive correlation between disease activity and plasma AA, and the decreased levels of blood lipids imply the need for further studies into fatty acid metabolism in AS. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2011. 50 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1440
diet, ankylosing spondylitits, omega-3, cardiovascular
National Category
Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Research subject
Medicine, rheumatology
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-48557 (URN)978-91-7459-272-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-18, Utbildningsnod XI, lokal 135, Umeå Universitet, UMEÅ, 09:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-10-28 Created: 2011-10-22 Last updated: 2011-10-28Bibliographically approved

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Sundström, BjörnHagfors, LindaJohansson, Gunnar
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