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Adding Fish Oil to IV May Speed Sepsis Recovery

Omega-3 fatty acids in the solution reduce inflammation, researchers note

TUESDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Adding fish oil to intravenous solutions proved beneficial for intensive care patients with the potentially lethal blood infection known as sepsis, a new study finds.

The study, published Jan. 19 in the journal Critical Care, compared 13 patients who received fish oil in the normal IV nutrient solution given to patients with sepsis, and 10 patients who received traditional solutions. The patients who received the fish oil had lower levels of inflammatory chemicals in their blood, achieved better lung function, and had a shorter hospital stay.

"This is the first study of this particular fish oil solution in septic patients in the ICU. The positive results are important since they indicate that the use of such an emulsion in this group of patients will improve clinical outcomes, in comparison with the standard mix," researcher Philip Calder, of the University of Southampton in England, said in a news release.

"Recently, there has been increased interest in the fat and oil component of vein-delivered nutrition, with the realization that it not only supplies energy and essential building blocks, but may also provide bioactive fatty acids," Calder said.

"Traditional solutions use soybean oil, which does not contain the omega-3 fatty acids contained in a fish oil that act to reduce inflammatory responses. In fact, soybean oil is rich in omega-6 acids that may actually promote inflammation in an excessive or unbalanced supply," he explained.

More information

The U.S. Institute of General Medical Sciences has more about sepsis.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: BioMed Central, news release, Jan. 18, 2010

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