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Omega 3 Fatty Acids to Treat Barrett’s Esophagus

Dr. Adil R, MBBS


Role of omega 3 fatty acids in the treatment of Barrett esophagusOmega 3 Fatty Acids to Treat Barrett’s Esophagus.

Omega 3 Fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids and they are included in the category of essential fatty acids. Essential fatty acids can’t be synthesized by human body and should be taken through an external source. Omega 3 fatty acids contain three groups of fats.

1. ALA: Found in plant oils

2. EPA: Found in Marine oils

3. DHA: Found In Marine oils

The common sources of DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids include; fish oil, egg oil, squid oil and krill oil. While ALA is present in some plants oils for example, seabuckthron seed oil and berry oil.

Omega 3 fatty acids work as anti-inflammatory agents in human body. In a research study a group of barrett’s esophagus patients were given oral supplement of EPA (an omega 3 fatty acid). They had been taking 3 grams of EPA per day for the duration of six months. After six months esophageal samples of all the patients were collected through endoscopy and were analyzed for the concentration of COX-2. COX-2 protein is an enzyme that is present only in injured, damaged or inflamed tissue. Its concentration can tell us about the degree of inflammation in the tissue. Those tissue samples which contain higher concentration of EPA had lesser quantity of COX-2 protein as compared to those which had lower concentration of EPA. So they concluded that EPA has anti-inflammatory effect and this property of EPA might help to reduce to the risk of esophageal cancer. (Mehta SP et al. Effect of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on Barrett"s epithelium in the lower esophagus. 2008.)

In last 2 decades the incidence of esophageal cancer has been increased greatly in United Kingdome and Europe. Epidemiological studies suggest that there is lower incidence of esophageal cancer in those populations that have higher consumption rates of fish. Fish oil is rich in omega 3 fatty acids. So they suggested that omega 3 fatty acids might have some anti-carcinogenic property. This effect Is being studied by the researchers of America, United Kingdom and Europe. Although they have found some anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids but they suggested that further studies should be done to study the effect of omega 3 fatty acid on barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.

Omega 3 fatty acid supplements are available without prescription and can be ordered online. Scientists are conducting more and more studies to find out the effects of omega 3 fatty acid on the behavior of barrett’s esophagus and soon we will have a clear cut statement about the role of omega 3 fatty acid in the treatment of barrett’s esophagus.

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