Omega-3 fatty acids (fish-oil) have been studied for over 30 years. Unlike many dietary supplements whose scientific underpinnings are suspect or thin at best, there are over 1000 peer reviewed publications on the salutary effects of omega-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular health, including both large-scale epidemiologic investigations and interventional trials. In addition, the benefits of n-3 fatty acids on inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis, are well described. Over 20 peer-reviewed publications from North America, Europe and Australia have independently found significant benefits in well-designed, double-blind, prospective trials. Given the ubiquitous use of omega-3 dietary supplements by patients with inflammation, and the population at large, as well as the recognition of the role of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, it is appropriate to review the scientific evidence behind this supplement in order to place these findings in perspective. Physicians need to be able to respond to questions that patients ask about these agents, including questions of rationale, efficacy, dose, source, and contaminants. They also need to be able to integrate the data into the dialogue of cardiovascular health associated with these diseases.
Upon completion of this session, participants should be able to:
- describe the scientific basis for the anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and clinical effects of n-3 fatty acids in health and disease
- discuss the impact of n-3 fatty acids in rheumatoid arthritis
- discuss the impact of n-3 fatty acids on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality
|Moderator:||Eric M. Ruderman, MD, Northwestern University|
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