Evidence on the Efficacy of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids as an Adjunct Therapy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Valerie Josephine Dirjayanto


Background: As the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) places a significant burden on healthcare-related costs. COPD is characterized by airflow impairment, including chronic bronchitis, small airways obstruction, and emphysema. COPD pathophysiology involves inflammation correlated with lung decline, body composition alteration, and decreased quality of life. Since preceding studies have shown its roles in inflammatory processes, omega-3 is proposed as a potential adjunct treatment in slowing down COPD progression.
Aim: To analyse the efficacy of omega-3 as a potential adjunct therapy in COPD management.
Method: A literature review was conducted by retrieving studies published from 2010-2020 through PubMed, EBSCOhost, Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials (CENTRAL), Scopus, Clinical Key, Wiley, and Science Direct that evaluate the effect of omega-3 supplementation in COPD management.
Outcome: The search yielded 12 studies with a total of 6,474 subjects. Outcomes suggested that omega-3 leads to a reduction in inflammation, improved body composition, enhanced exercise capacity, higher quality of life, and lower exacerbation occurrences. Association found for lung function was weak, but this might be due to the study designs. The only potential adverse effect was diarrhoea, but this is insignificant.
Conclusion: To conclude, omega-3 supplementation in COPD management showed promising results, considering its efficacy in slowing down COPD progression, minimal side effects, cost-effectiveness, and feasibility. However, the incorporation of this intervention into management guidelines require more trials with larger samples to establish more substantial evidence and more in-depth understanding of its roles.

Article Details

How to Cite
Dirjayanto, V. J. (2021) “Evidence on the Efficacy of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids as an Adjunct Therapy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease”, Journal of Asian Medical Students’ Association. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 9(1). doi: 10.52629/jamsa.v9i1.238.
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