Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Free radicals are imbalanced compounds that achieve balance by swiping electrons from or giving electrons to other compounds. Because they typically attack the fatty membranes covering cells free radicals can wreak havoc on all types of cells. Once damaged these membranes can emit a variety of substances that further increase free radical activity.
Lipid replacement therapy (LRT) is..
used to produce healthy cell membranes that are less susceptible to free radical attack, to repair membranes quickly once they are damaged, to increase cellular energy production, and to prevent further free radical activity.
Lipid Replace Therapy May Assist in ME/CFS and FM Because..
higher than normal levels of free radical damage (oxidative stress) have been found in both ME/CFS and fibromyalgia (FM) patients. Recent studies also suggest ME/CFS patients have high levels of a type of fat (abdominal) that is associated with high free radical production. LRT could have several benefits in ME/CFS including:
- Increased Energy Production - Some researchers believe that the fatigue in chronic illnesses such as ME/CFS and FM occurs when free radicals inhibit the cells mitochondria from producing energy. Dr. Nicholson used a lipid replacement product called Propax NT to reduce fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, etc. in cancer and chronically fatigued patients. Two recent studies found that both mitochondrial function and fatigue were substantially improved in both moderate and severely chronically fatigued and FM patients.
- Protection From Central Nervous System Infections – Dr. Basant Puri believes an infection in the central nervous system of ME/CFS patients inhibits their cells from producing health membranes. He uses an LRT product called ‘Eye Q’ to provide the essential fatty acids he believes these viruses are inhibiting.
Eye Q - Dr. Puri used a lipid replacement product called called ‘Eye Q’ in his study. He reported that one ME/ME/CFS patient almost totally confined to a wheelchair with high fatigue, poor sleep, muscle pain, and ‘low mood’ began to go into remission about six to eight weeks into the program. At 16 weeks her depression score had dropped from 27 to 3 and she reported that her sleep was much improved. Her muscle pain, however, was unchanged. Comments from a group of four ME/CFS patients after 12 weeks of therapy ranged from the startling ‘the fogginess of the brain was gone completely’ to the hopeful ‘for the first time a feeling of well being was experienced’ to the more mundane ‘I am able to communicate during a relapse.’
Dr. Puri also tells a remarkable story of a 20 year old who had become increasingly suicidal despite using a variety of anti-depressants. One month after starting 4 g of eicosapentoaenoic acid a day his suicidal thoughts had disappeared and nine months later all his symptoms had disappeared, his depression rating, formerly at 32, was zero, and a brain scan indicated that substantial changes had occurred.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) Studies
Despite these successes two prior studies of LRT therapy had mixed results. Dr. Maes examination of the lipid levels in ME/ME/CFS patients indicated that ME/ME/CFS patients had low omega 3/6 ratios and high omega 6 levels relative to healthy controls. This suggested ME/ME/CFS patients should avoid taking LRT’s containing high omega 6 levels.
The Supplements - Many omega oil supplements are available. The two portrayed in these studies are:
- Propax with NT Factor – is portrayed by its producer, a U.S. based company called Nutritional Therapeutics, as a complete delivery lipid replacement package. Besides many vitamins and minerals it also contains amino acids, antioxidants and probiotics. Propax has high omega 3 fatty acid levels and no omega 6 fatty acids.
- Eye Q – is made by a U.K. company, Equazen. It contains high levels of omega 3 and low levels of omega 6 fatty acids (from evening primrose oil) as well as an antioxidant, vitamin E.
While not a cure omega three fatty acids with low omega six fatty acid levels may benefit some ME/CFS patients. Fatty acids derived from fish oils should be filtered to ensure no mercury is present.
(This and all sections of the Phoenix Rising website are compiled by a layman. They are not a substitute for a physician and are for informational uses only. Please discuss any treatments in these pages with your physician.)
In chronic fatigue syndrome the increased omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are related to lowered serum zinc and defects in T-cell activation. Maes, M., Mahaylova, I. and J. C. Leunis. 2006. Neuroendocrinology Letters 6, 745-751.
Lipid replacement therapy and antioxidant nutritional therapy for restoring mitochondrial function and reducing the fatigue in chronic fatigue syndrome and other fatiguing illnesses. Nicholson, G. and R. Ellithorpe. 2006. Journal of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 13, 57-58.
Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and the path of physiology of myalgic encephalitis (chronic fatigue syndrome).Puri, B. 2006. Journal of Clinical Pathology.