Long-term moderate intervention with n-3 long-chain PUFA-supplemented dairy products: effects on pathophysiological biomarkers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Br J Nutr. 2009 May;101(10):1517-26. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508076216. Epub 2009 Feb 27.


n-3 long-chain PUFA (n-3 LC-PUFA) may improve cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases. The effects of n-3 LC-PUFA-supplemented dairy products on inflammation and immunological parameters, biomarkers of oxidative stress, serum lipids, and on disease activity were determined in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Forty-five subjects (forty-three females and two males) were randomly divided into two groups in a double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study. Both groups received placebo or verum products consecutively for 3 months with a 2-month washout phase between the two periods. Blood samples were taken at the beginning and at the end of each period. The dairy products generally improved serum lipids by increasing HDL and lowering lipoprotein a. The n-3 LC-PUFA supplements act to lower TAG. Additionally, a decreased lipopolysaccharide-stimulated cylo-oxygenase-2 expression was found in patients who had consumed the enriched dairy products. The majority of the CD analysed were not influenced, although n-3 LC-PUFA did suppress the immune response as lymphocytes and monocytes were found to be significantly decreased. The n-3 LC-PUFA did not increase the biomarkers of oxidative stress such as 8-iso-PGF(2alpha) and 15-keto-dihydro PGF(2alpha), and DNA damage like 7,8-dihydro-8-oxo-2'-deoxyguanosine. The long-term consumption of dairy products (2 x 12 weeks) diminished the excretion of hydroxypyridinium crosslinks, and favoured the diastolic blood pressure. The consumption of moderate doses of n-3 LC-PUFA in combination with dairy products did not improve the disease activity. However, there is evidence of cardioprotective effects. Furthermore, the long-term consumption of dairy products acts against the cartilage and bone destruction in RA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / metabolism
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / physiopathology
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Cyclooxygenase 2 / blood
  • Dairy Products*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lipids / blood
  • Lipids / chemistry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Lipids
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Cyclooxygenase 2
  • PTGS2 protein, human