Effects of fish oil supplementation on kidney transplantation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2005 Aug;16(8):2462-70. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2005020176. Epub 2005 Jun 15.


The objective of this study was to assess the effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on various kidney transplant-related outcomes. A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed of published randomized, controlled trials (RCT). There were 16 kidney transplant RCT with a total of 812 patients. All trials evaluated fish oil with dosages that ranged from 1.2 to 5.4 g/d. No consistent benefits were observed for any outcome with the exception of a modest benefit on triglycerides. A meta-analysis of rejection episodes found no significant benefit on either early (<6 mo posttransplantation) or late episodes. The overall relative risk of having at least one rejection episode in those who received fish oil was 0.91 (95% confidence interval 0.74 to 1.10) in four studies with a follow-up of 1 yr. A meta-analysis of eight RCT of graft survival found no significant benefit (relative risk 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.05). The available data (mostly derived from older studies with important methodologic limitations) do not demonstrate a consistent, clinically important benefit of fish oil in kidney transplantation.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / metabolism
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Graft Rejection
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Kidney Diseases / mortality
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Kidney Transplantation / methods*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Research Design
  • Risk
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Immunosuppressive Agents