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Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2000 May;6(2):77-84.

Nutritional supplementation with N-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in patients with Crohn's disease in remission: effects on antioxidant status and fatty acid profile.

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Department of Gastroenterology, University of Maastricht, The Netherlands.


In patients with Crohn's disease (CD), malnutrition is frequently observed and is generally accepted to be an important issue. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of 3 months of supplementation with a liquid formula containing either antioxidants (AO) or n-3 fatty acids plus AO on the antioxidant status and fatty acid profile of plasma phospholipids and adipose tissue, respectively, in patients with long-standing CD currently in remission. In a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study, CD patients received either placebo, AO, or n-3 fatty acids plus AO for 3 months in addition to their regular diet. In all, 25/37 CD patients completed the study. AO status was assessed by blood biochemical parameters. A statistical per-protocol analysis was performed. Serum concentrations of selenium, vitamin C, and vitamin E, the activity of superoxide dismutase and total antioxidant status were significantly (p < 0.05) increased after AO supplementation. Furthermore, compared with controls, serum concentrations of beta-carotene, selenium, and vitamin C and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were significantly (p < 0.05) lower before supplementation; however, after AO supplementation these levels were not significantly different from controls (except for GPx). N-3 fatty acids plus AO supplementation significantly (p < 0.05) decreased the proportion of arachidonic acid, and increased the proportion of eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexanoic acid in both plasma phospholipids and adipose tissue. Supplementation with antioxidants improved antioxidant status in patients with CD in remission. In addition, supplementation with n-3 fatty acids plus antioxidants significantly changed the eicosanoid precursor profile, which may lead to the production of eicosanoids with attenuated proinflammatory activity. This study indicates that an immunomodulating formula containing n-3 fatty acids and/or AO may have the potential to play a role in the treatment of CD.

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