The effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on clinical and biochemical parameters of critically ill patients with COVID-19: a randomized clinical trial

J Transl Med. 2021 Mar 29;19(1):128. doi: 10.1186/s12967-021-02795-5.


Background: Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3-PUFAs) may exert beneficial effects on the immune system of patients with viral infections. This paper aimed to examine the effect of n3-PUFA supplementation on inflammatory and biochemical markers in critically ill patients with COVID-19.

Methods: A double-blind, randomized clinical trial study was conducted on 128 critically ill patients infected with COVID-19 who were randomly assigned to the intervention (fortified formula with n3-PUFA) (n = 42) and control (n = 86) groups. Data on 1 month survival rate, blood glucose, sodium (Na), potassium (K), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine (Cr), albumin, hematocrit (HCT), calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), mean arterial pressure (MAP), O2 saturation (O2sat), arterial pH, partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3), base excess (Be), white blood cells (WBCs), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), hemoglobin (Hb), platelet (Plt), and the partial thromboplastin time (PTT) were collected at baseline and after 14 days of the intervention.

Results: The intervention group had significantly higher 1-month survival rate and higher levels of arterial pH, HCO3, and Be and lower levels of BUN, Cr, and K compared with the control group after intervention (all P < 0.05). There were no significant differences between blood glucose, Na, HCT, Ca, P, MAP, O2sat, PO2, PCO2, WBCs, GCS, Hb, Plt, PTT, and albumin between two groups.

Conclusion: Omega-3 supplementation improved the levels of several parameters of respiratory and renal function in critically ill patients with COVID-19. Further clinical studies are warranted. Trial registry Name of the registry: This study was registered in the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (IRCT); Trial registration number: IRCT20151226025699N3; Date of registration: 2020.5.20; URL of trial registry record:

Keywords: Coronavirus; Kidney function; Omega-3 fatty acids; Respiratory function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / analysis
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / diet therapy*
  • COVID-19 / mortality
  • COVID-19 / physiopathology
  • Critical Illness / mortality
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Hematocrit
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / analysis
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / physiopathology
  • Kidney / virology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory System / drug effects
  • Respiratory System / physiopathology
  • Respiratory System / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2 / drug effects
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Inflammation Mediators

Associated data

  • IRCT/IRCT20151226025699N3