Effects of ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on hot flashes and quality of life among middle-aged women: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial

Menopause. Mar-Apr 2009;16(2):357-66. doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e3181865386.

Abstract

Objective: To compare the effects of enriched ethyl-eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA) omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with those of placebo on hot flashes (HFs) and quality of life among middle-aged women.

Methods: Women were considered for participation if they were between 40 and 55 years of age and had moderate to severe psychological distress. A total of 120 women were randomly assigned to E-EPA or placebo for 8 weeks. Only women with HFs were included in this analysis (E-EPA, n = 45; placebo, n = 46). Outcomes were changes from baseline to week 8 postintervention regarding hot flash (HF) frequency (number of HFs per day), intensity and score (frequency x intensity), and Menopause-specific Quality of Life questionnaire scores.

Results: At baseline, the average number of HFs was 2.8 per day. After 8 weeks, HF frequency and score decreased significantly in the E-EPA group compared with the placebo group. There was no difference in the change in HF intensity between groups. Frequency of HFs declined by a mean of 1.58 per day (95% CI, -2.18 to -0.98) in the E-EPA group and by 0.50 per day (95% CI, -1.20 to 0.20) in the placebo group. The odds of being a responder among those taking E-EPA were about three times greater than among those taking placebo (odds ratio, 2.70; 95% CI, 1.03-7.03; P = 0.04). Menopause-Specific Quality of Life scores improved significantly over time in both groups but no significant differences were noted between them.

Conclusions: Supplementation with E-EPA omega-3 fatty acid reduced HF frequency and improved the HF score relative to placebo. These results need to be confirmed by a clinical trial specifically designed to evaluate HFs in more symptomatic women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Hot Flashes / diet therapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome

Substances

  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid