Israeli researchers have discovered that fish oil helps heal bed sores, and can help ease the pain of the critically ill.
Tel Aviv University Professor Pierre Singer of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Ph.D. Candidate Miriam Theilla at the Rabin Medical Center found that common fish oil provided a host of healing benefits for seriously ill patients.
The oil is recommended for the Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants it contains, and is available these days as a gel capsule in any pharmacy.
Singer and Theilla recommended adding the supplement to the regular hospital diet, pointing out that Omega-3 led to a 20-25 percent reduction in pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores.
The painful – and serious – condition results from constant pressure on the skin and underlying tissue due to prolonged sitting or lying down. Bedsores are formed by a lack of oxygen, reduced blood flow and skin wetness.
Omega-3 (which is found naturally in salmon and tuna) has also been found to help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation in skin and joints, and promote healthy fetal development.
The 40 critically-ill participants were divided into two groups for the randomized three-week study. Half were given standard hospital diets, and half added eight grams of fish oil to their daily diet. Those who consumed the fish oil diets experienced a boost to their immune systems, which led to improved healing. The researchers also discovered a general reduction to inflammation throughout the bodies of those who had consumed the fish oil, in addition to the boost in the immune system and the improvement in the healing of the bedsores.
The findings were reported in the British Journal of Nutrition, and in the American Journal of Critical Care. Prof. Singer said that he and fellow researchers next plan to explore the use of fish oil as a method of natural pain management.