Israeli researchers may have found a previously unknown use for fish oil. Rich in Omega 3 and antioxidants, fish oil is generally believed, among other benefits, to help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and contribute to proper fetal development.
But when Professor Pierre Singer from Tel Aviv University‘s Sackler Faculty of Medicine researched fish oil, he didn’t expect to find it would also relieve bedsores.
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Bedsores are a known phenomenon in bedridden patients with prolonged pressure on the skin tissues. This happens when a patient has to lie down for a long time, without the ability to move. “Bedsores are very painful and are easily contaminated, that is why curing them is of utmost importance,” says Professor Singer. “In our study, we added fish oil as a nutritional supplement to several ill patients and monitored its effect on bedsores.”
Throughout the study, which was conducted with Rabin Medical Center‘s Ph.D. Candidate Miriam Theilla, patients were given eight grams (approx. 0.3 Oz) of fish oil every day for three weeks. Results were surprisingly positive: a 20-25 percent improvement in healing measurement of the bedsores, which resulted in significant reduction in patient pain and discomfort. Moreover, a general improvement in the immune system was reported.
A natural pain reliever?
Singer’s research was based on a previous study, which showed that nutritional supplements containing fish oil caused an increase in oxygen levels in several ill patients’ tissues. On this recent study, researchers wanted to determine whether fish oil could be used to treat bedsores, which are caused by a decrease in oxygen levels, reduced blood flow and skin dehydration.
In order to test their hypothesis, researchers conducted a random study, which included 40 bedridden patients. Half of the patients were on a normal hospital diet and the other half were given the fish oil. The group given fish oil showed 20-25 percent improvement.
Singer and his colleagues next plan on researching whether fish oil can be used as a generalized natural pain-reliever. The planned study will measure the influence fish oil consumption has on pain levels in people who underwent knee or hip replacement.
Photo by jcoterhals