Efficacy of fish oil and its components in the management of psoriasis: a systematic review of 18 randomized controlled trials

Nutr Rev. 2020 Oct 1;78(10):827-840. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuz098.


Context: Fish oil and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω-3 PUFAs) have anti-inflammatory properties, but their effect on psoriasis and its comorbidities remains inconclusive.

Objective: The aim of this quantitative systematic review was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of fish oil and its components in the treatment of psoriasis and its comorbidities.

Data sources: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, China Network Knowledge Infrastructure, China Science and Technology Journal Database, and Wanfang databases were searched from inception to March 30, 2019.

Study selection: Randomized controlled trials were eligible for inclusion if they measured the effect of fish oil and its components in the treatment of patients with psoriasis.

Data extraction: Eighteen randomized controlled trials involving 927 study participants were included.

Results: Monotherapy with fish oil or ω-3 PUFAs had no effect on the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score (P = 0.47), lesion area (P = 0.34), or pruritus (P = 0.62). Fish oil or ω-3 PUFAs combined with conventional treatments, however, resulted in a decreased PASI score (mean difference [MD], -3.92; 95%CI, -6.15 to -1.69; P = 0.0006) and lesion area (MD, -30.00; 95%CI, -33.82 to -26.18; P < 0.0001). Safety evaluation suggested no between-group differences. Fish oil and its components reduced certain risk factors for obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease in patients with psoriasis and also regulated several inflammatory mediators.

Conclusions: Overall, when combined with conventional treatments, fish oil and its components may have beneficial effects on psoriasis and its comorbidities, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO registration number CRD42019128631.

Keywords: fish oil; psoriasis; psoriasis comorbidities; systematic review; ω-3 PUFA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fish Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Fish Oils / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / immunology
  • Psoriasis / diet therapy*
  • Psoriasis / immunology
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Fish Oils
  • Inflammation Mediators