A 2022 RAD Conference poster presentation explores the efficacy of the therapy for the treatment or prevention of AD.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements may not prevent allergic symptoms but may decrease skin inflammation and the prevalence of atopic dermatitis (AD), according to a poster presentation from the 2022 virtual Revolutionizing Atopic Dermatitis Conference.
Oral supplements are commonly used by patients to enhance skin health for aesthetic purposes and in response to cutaneous disorders. Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not authorized to approve the efficacy or safety of dietary supplements prior to public marketing. Patients with AD use various treatment options and over-the-counter supplements throughout their lifetime. Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FA) are marketed for their anti-inflammatory effects and have been widely studied to understand their health benefits.
The study’s authors used a comprehensive electronic search of O3FA (docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaneoic acid (EPA)) for atopic dermatitis in PubMed/MEDLINE, Cochrane Central, Embase, and Google Scholar. Duplicate, non-English articles, and irrelevant articles were excluded. These parameters resulted in 38 articles rejected as they did not meet study qualifications, therefore, 7 articles were included in this review.
Of the included articles, 2 of the studies discussed an improvement in skin inflammation with O3FA supplementation, while 5 did not find a significant difference in the prevention of allergic disease. One trial resulted in a significant decline in the prevalence of eczema and another indicated significant clinical improvement compared to baseline, but not in comparison to placebo. The authors said it does not appear that O3FA supplementation is effective for preventing allergic symptoms, but patients may use it to decrease skin inflammation, the prevalence of AD and provide clinical improvement.
The authors recognize the limitations to the study, including the number of studies included and limited understanding of the impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acid supplementation on skin health. This study suggests that further evaluation is needed to characterize the efficacy of O3FA supplementation in the prevention and treatment of AD, and emphasizes the need for more evidence-based medicine for clinicians to better counsel patients regarding all oral supplementations.