Omega 3 EPA information

Chronic fatigue syndrome a possible treatment

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is still not well understood, but it causes debilitating symptoms in as many as 500,000 Americans, primarily women. Now a small study at Hammersmith Hospital in London suggests that CFS may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that results from poor metabolism of a fatty substance called phospholipid. According to study author Basant Puri, Ph.D., taking a supplement with 500 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) daily for 12 weeks, then about 170 milligrams daily thereafter, could help treat the imbalance and possibly ease CFS. (People on blood-thinning drugs shouldn't take it without a doctor's supervision.) EPA is also found in fatty fish and fish-oil supplements, although In smaller amounts Chronic fatigue syndrome or ME may be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, according to doctors.

They have also suggested that taking certain fish oil supplements may help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with the condition.
Chronic fatigue syndrome affects an estimated 243,000 people of all ages in the UK.

It causes a wide range of symptoms including muscle pain, memory loss, and severe exhaustion which can last many years and leave victims bed-ridden.

Dr Basant Puri and colleagues at Hammersmith Hospital in London used state-of-the-art scanning technology to assess chemical activity in the brain.

They examined a group of eight people who had been diagnosed with the syndrome and the same number of healthy people.

Brain chemicals

They found higher levels of two key chemicals - choline and creatine - in the brains of people with the condition.

Choline is important for controlling fat levels in brain cells while creatine provides energy.
The doctors said the findings suggested CFS patients had abnormal phospholipid metabolisms.
Phospholipids are special types of fats which are an essential component of cells. They are protected by certain types of fatty acids.

Doctors at Hammersmith believe fatty acid a fish oil supplements could help to restore the chemical imbalance in the brain and alleviate the symptoms of CFS.

However, the supplements need to have high Eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA if it is to be effective as a treatment.
Dr Puri said: "This study suggests that if patients with CFS take a high-EPA fatty acid supplement, then this should have a beneficial action on the chemical imbalances in the brain which we have identified."

The study is published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica.

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