The effects of a dietary supplement of n-3 fatty acids in patients with atopic dermatitis were investigated in a 12-week, double-blind study. The experimental group received 10 g of fish oil daily, of which about 1.8 g was eicosapentaenoic acid. This amount of eicosapentaenoic acid can be obtained from a daily intake of fat fish. The controls received an iso-energetic placebo supplement containing olive oil. Compliance was monitored by gas-chromatographic analysis of the fatty acid pattern in serum phospholipids. Results favoured the experimental group with regard to scale (P less than 0.05), itch (P less than 0.05) and overall subjective severity (P less than 0.02) as compared to the controls.