Fatty acid supplements improve respiratory, inflammatory and nutritional parameters in adults with cystic fibrosis

Arch Bronconeumol. 2010 Feb;46(2):70-7. doi: 10.1016/j.arbres.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Dec 31.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Introduction and aims: Chronic inflammation plays a major role in lung deterioration in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients and anti-inflammatory strategies have beneficial effects. To study the changes seen after a one-year course of low-dose dietary supplements with a mixture of fatty acids in adult patients with CF in chronic inflammation, pulmonary status (lung function, respiratory exacerbations and antibiotic consumption), quality of life and anthropometric parameters.

Patients and method: Seventeen adult subjects with CF received 324 mg of eicosapentaenoic, 216 mg of docosahexaenoic, 480 mg of linoleic and 258 mg of gammalinolenic acid daily. We assessed inflammation markers, spirometry parameters, number and severity of respiratory exacerbations, antibiotic consumption, quality of life (St George's QoL), anthropometric parameters and serum phospholipid fatty acid composition.

Results: At the end of the treatment period TNF alpha levels fell significantly and its soluble receptors (60 and 80) rose significantly. Levels of IgG and IgM anti-oxidized LDL antibodies fell significantly. Spirometry improved significantly. Annual respiratory exacerbations and days of antibiotic treatment fell significantly. The improvement in QoL was not significant. Serum levels of docosahexaenoic, total omega-3 and linoleic acid rose significantly and more favourable profiles were seen in monoenoic acids, arachidonic acid and the arachidonic/docosahexaenoic ratio. The fat-free mass and hand grip dynamometry improved significantly.

Conclusions: Low-dose supplements of n-3 and gammalinolenic fatty acids over a long period (one year) appears to improve pulmonary status (lung function, respiratory exacerbations and antibiotic consumption), inflammatory and anthropometric parameters in adults with CF.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry
  • Autoantibodies / blood
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / administration & dosage
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Linoleic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Linoleic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / immunology
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / blood
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / etiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sputum / microbiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin E / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / administration & dosage
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / therapeutic use*


  • Autoantibodies
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Vitamin E
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid
  • Linoleic Acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid