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J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 2015 Sep;13(9):879-85. doi: 10.1111/ddg.12780.

Do long-chain omega-3 fatty acids protect from atopic dermatitis?

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Nutrition Counseling and Therapy with Special Focus on Allergology, Munich, Germany.
Division of Immunodermatology and Experimental Allergology, Department of Dermatology, Allergology, and Venereology, Medical University Hanover, Hanover, Germany.


Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for human nutrition. The number of double bonds determines whether a given fatty acid is termed two, three, or x times unsaturated. Depending on the distance of the first double bond from the fatty acid's methyl group, one distinguishes omega-3 fatty acids from omega-6 fatty acids. While the use of gamma linolenic acid, a long-chain fatty acid of the omega-6 family, has proven unsuccessful in the prevention or treatment of atopic dermatitis, supplementation of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids may represent a promising approach in the prevention of allergic disorders, especially atopic dermatitis. Whether the concept of long-chain omega-3 fatty acid administration will also become established in a therapeutic setting, depends on whether the beneficial effects observed so far can be substantiated in randomized controlled intervention studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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