Omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate complications associated with sickle cell disease (SCD) and could be a promising therapeutic approach, according to results of a pilot nutritional interventional study published in Jornal de Pediatria.

“Supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids for a period of six months significantly reduced the inflammatory marker homocysteine in all patients, whereas high sensitive C reactive protein was significantly reduced only in females of the age group 11-16 years,” the authors explained.

Before supplementation, all patients presented a free oxygen radical transference (FORT) capacity value superior to the normal range, which suggested increased oxidative stress. FORT values decreased from 4.029±0.467 mmol/L hydrogen peroxide to 3.286±0.872 mmol/L hydrogen peroxide after omega-3 supplementation, a significant reduction observed in both males and females.

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Moreover, all patients had a free oxygen radical defense (FORD) antioxidant capacity value close to the lower limit of normal before the supplementation. FORD values increased from 0.907±0.437 mmol/L Trolox to 1.518±0.6423 mmol/L Trolox after supplementation in both males and females.

The levels of the inflammatory marker homocysteine decreased from 7.200±2.586 µmol/L to 4.544±2.313 µmol/L after supplementation, a significant reduction observed in both males and females. Increased levels of homocysteine have been linked to inflammation and plaque formation, which may contribute to major cardiovascular problems.

Overall, the levels of the other inflammatory marker measured, high sensitive C reactive protein, also decreased after supplementation in males and females, albeit not significantly. However, the decrease was more pronounced in females, meeting the criteria for statistical significance in the group of females aged 11-16 years.

The study enrolled 43 patients which were subdivided into groups based on gender and age as follows: males 5-10 years, n=15, males 11-16 years, n=11, females 5-10 years, n=11, females 11-16 years, n=9.


Khan SA, Damanhouri GA, Ahmed TJ, et al. Omega 3 fatty acids – potential modulators for oxidative stress and inflammation in the management of sickle cell disease. J Pediatr. Published online February 6, 2022. doi:10.1016/j.jped.2022.01.001