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Borage and Fish Oil aid patients with Acute Lung Injury PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Friday, 24 February 2006 00:00

Acute Lung Injury, or ALI, is most often seen as part of a systemic inflammatory process and may be caused by trauma, sepsis (blood infection), aspiration, and many other causes. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, is the most serious form of Acute Lung Injury. Some of the other causes of ALI and ARDS are pneumonia, near drowning, burns, and inhalation of noxious fumes. 

An October 2005 study published in of the New England Journal of Medicine indicated that there might be a great many more cases of ALI in the United States than previously recognized. The new estimate suggests that there maybe two to five times as many acute lung injuries. The study authors estimated 190,600 cases of acute lung injury occur each year that result in 3.6 million hospital stays and 74,500 deaths. 

Recent evidence has shown that intervention with dietary fish oil, which contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in borage oil, may be beneficial in patients with ALI by reducing inflammation. A 1999 study published in Critical Care Medicine noted a decrease in inflammation in patients with ARDS that were given EPA and GLA compared with controls. The EPA and GLA patients also required fewer days of ventilation and had shorter time in the intensive care unit (ICU). 

A new study published in Critical Care Medicine examined the effect of EPA and GLA on patients with ALI. In the study 49 patients received a control formula and 46 received the EPA and GLA formula. The EPA and GLA formula also included additional vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene, taurine, and L-carnitine.

The authors found that in this single-centered study there was an advantage in the diet enriched with fish and borage oil. There was improved oxygenation in patients as well as a small but significantly shorter amount of time requiring ventilation – 13.1 days versus 17.6 days in the control group. The authors note that the better outcome in the EPA and GLA group could be by “reducing inflammatory process in the lung and improving lung mechanics and oxygenation.” 

The authors conclude, “our study demonstrates that this EPA + GLA diet improves oxygenation and lung dynamics, and also morbidity related to the lung condition, decreasing the LOV [Length of Ventilation] in the ICU.”


Source: Critical Care Medicine, April 2006 [Epub ahead of print]
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