Omega 3 fish oil benefits in IBS have some evidence behind its use. This natural fatty acid is found in some plants and animals.
They are essential for your health as they are required for your body’s processes or ‘normal metabolism’.
These fatty acids need to be taken in through your diet or as a supplement.
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These fatty acids are present in your normal foods you would eat.
They are mainly found in oily fish such as mackerel, pilchards, salmon and trout as well as some plants including flaxseeds (Linseed) and hemp.
There have only been 2 studies that I am aware of related to Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
The first was a study that looked at the serum fatty acid profile in 32 people with Irritable Bowel (1).
The study found that fatty acids were low in the 32 subjects, suggesting that supplementing them with Omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial.
The second study looked at serum arachidonic acid(2). Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid (Omega 6) that appears to have proinflammatory activity in the bowel as it is converted to Prostaglandin E2 which can cause pain.
In patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the levels of the Omega 6 fatty acid appears to be raised and it has therefore been hypothesised that Arachidonic acid could be used as a marker in IBS.
It could also indicate that the bowel condition has an inflammatory component to it.
These studies are small, so it is difficult to be certain about all this.
They would suggest that supplementing this fatty acid might be helpful as a novel treatment although larger studies are required.
There has been anecdotal evidence from individuals with the condition suggesting that their symptoms have improved with supplementation.
Certainly increasing your intake either by diet or through supplementation might be worth trying.
1) Serum Fatty Acid Profile In Subjects With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Solakivi, T et al. Scand J Gastroenterol. 2011 Mar 46(3):299-303. doi: 10.3109/00365521.2010.533380.Epub 2010 Nov 15
2) Marked Elevations In Pro-Inflammatory Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Metabolites In Females With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Clarke G et al. J LipidRes, 2010 May:51(5):1186-92. doi: 10.1194/jlr.P000695. Epub 2009 Nov 11
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