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Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with omega-3 fish & borage oils: Influence on serum lipids

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Article:
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis with marine & botanical oils: Influence on serum lipids
– Source: Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Oct 9, 2011

By Barbara C Olendzki, et al.

[Note: To read the full text of this free-access article, go to  http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/827286/. The trial was designed to study the effect of GLA (borage oil) and EPA/DHA (fish oil) on inflammation, so the researchers were surprised to discover that patients taking these omega-3 oils achieved “significant improvements in all measures of cholesterol health” – and thus a potential reduction in cardiovascular risk considered particularly beneficial for a group with impaired ability to exercise.]

Abstract:
The gap in mortality between patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the general population (1.5- to 3.0-fold risk) is increasing. This disparity is attributable mainly to cardiovascular disease (CVD), as the CVD risk is comparable to patients with diabetes mellitus.

The purpose of this study is to determine whether:

Borage seed oil, rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA),

Fish oil, rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA),

• Or the combination of both oils…

….are useful treatments for dyslipidemia [high blood cholesterol levels] in patients with RA.

We randomized patients into a double blind, 18-month trial. Mixed effects models were used to compare trends over time in serum lipids.

• No significant differences were observed between the three groups:  All three treatment groups exhibited similar meaningful improvement in the lipid profile at 9 and 18 months.

• When all groups were combined [given the similarity of results], these treatments:

– Significantly reduced total [average minus 8.4 mg/dL] and LDL-cholesterol [average minus 9.4 mg/dL] and triglycerides [average minus 24.4 mg/dL],

– Increased HDL-cholesterol [average plus 5 mg/dL],

– And improved the atherogenic index [average minus 0.26].

All improvements observed at 9 months persisted at 18 months (P < 0.001 versus baseline) [probability that the improvement resulted by chance less than 1 in 1,000].

Conclusion:
Marine and botanical oils may be useful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis patients who are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease compared to the general population.

Source:
Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Oct 9, 2011;827286. PMID: 22007257, by Oledzki BC, Leung K, Buskirk SV, Reed G, Zurier RB. Center for Integrative Nutrition, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine; Division of Preventive & Behavioral Medicine; Department of Family Medicine and Community Health; Division of Rheumatology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA.

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