A prospective cohort study has revealed that fish oil may protect against IBD and ulcerative colitis. Researchers used data from the UK Biobank to determine whether the oil has any protective benefits against the condition.
So, could fish oil be the secret to preventing and managing IBD? Let’s look at what the latest study found and what it may mean for patients…
Fish oil supplements show reduced risk of IBD
The latest prospective cohort study analysed data from 447,890 patients aged 40-69. The data ranged from the years 2006-2017. During an eight year follow up period, there were 1,646 IBD cases reported, which included 533 Crohn’s disease cases, and 1,185 ulcerative colitis (UC) cases.
The researchers discovered that when compared to non-use, taking fish oil supplements reduced the risk of IBD and UC. However, there wasn’t any evidence to suggest fish oil supplements reduced the risk of Crohn’s disease.
All those who took fish oil supplements had reduced baseline CPR levels, alongside increased baseline albumin levels.
Although this research does show fish oil can help protect against IBD, larger studies now need to be conducted to confirm the findings.
How does fish oil impact the symptoms of IBD?
There have been conflicting findings over whether fish oil can help control the symptoms of IBD. In particular, there is little evidence it can help with the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
In cases where fish oil has helped to manage the symptoms of IBD, it is thought to be down to its Omega 3 fatty acids. They help to reduce inflammation, which is common in patients with IBD. Reducing the inflammation of the digestive tract would automatically help to ease some of the symptoms of the disease.
This again calls for further, larger studies to be carried out. Currently there is conflicting evidence, with some small studies even suggesting fish oil has no impact on IBD symptoms.
Should I use fish oil to manage my IBD?
There is no harm in taking fish oil supplements, and they do boast other fantastic health benefits. However, before taking any supplement you should always consult your doctor. Taking fish oil supplements alone also isn’t a recommended treatment for IBD.
Although there is no cure for IBD, there are treatment options available to manage the symptoms. These include making dietary changes, taking antibiotics and medications, and surgery to remove or repair any damage caused by the condition.
If you suspect you have IBD, book a consultation with Mr Alan Woodward.