While the cardiovascular benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are not news, it almost seems like a new benefit from the fatty acids shows up every day. Their latest use—as a treatment for bedsores—was as unpredicted as it is useful.
This is not a small issue. Many long-term bedridden patients are familiar with this condition that is the result of constant pressure on the skin and tissues in people who are forced to lie down for weeks on end. Bedsores, also known as pressure ulcers, are painful, prone to infection, and will not disappear without active intervention.
A new study from Israel indicated that omega-3s may actually be the most effective way to treat and prevent them. Researchers added eight grams of fish oil to the diets of patients most likely to contract bedsores for three weeks. The patients reported significantly less pain and discomfort—overall, about 25% improvement. The same patients also had stronger immune systems and less inflammation.
The study was prompted by earlier findings that indicated fish oil supplements raised oxygen levels in the tissue of ill patients. Bedsores can be formed by a lack of oxygen, reduced blood flow, and skin wetness.
Along with bedsore relief, immune system boosts, and reduced swelling, the patients experienced a significant decrease in the amount of C-reactive protein in their blood—as an indicator linked to inflammation and heart issues, as well as injured tissues and painful diseases.
Health-care professionals and advocates have been lauding the benefits of omega-3s for years now. While bedsores may not affect that many people, the fact that omega-3s help treat and prevent them through increasing oxygenation and strengthening immune systems is news that everyone can use.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Even More Benefits Discovered for Omega-3s
Theilla, M., et al., “Impact of a Nutritional Formula Enriched in Fish Oil and Micronutrients on Pressure Ulcers in Critical Care Patients,” Am J Crit Care July 2012; 21: e102-e109.