Chronic Pain Following Spinal Cord Injury Reduced by Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Suggests Loma Linda University Health Study

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was conducted at the Loma Linda University Center For Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine.

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Loma Linda, CA (PRWEB) September 17, 2013

Chronic pain following spinal cord injury may be reduced by consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, according to new research from Loma Linda University Health.

The study, accepted for publication in the scientific journal Neuroscience and now available online on Science Direct, found that the pain threshold of rats with spinal cord injury increased as a result of a diet containing omega-3 fatty acids.

“Chronic neuropathic pain is a serious condition affecting millions of people with Type 2 diabetes and spinal cord injury. A key finding of this research is the identification of new promising targets for the development of new therapies,” said Marino De Leon, Ph.D., senior author and head of the study.

“One of the main complaints of patients after a spinal cord injury is pain,” said the study’s first author, Johnny D. Figueroa, Ph.D.

“We are looking at strategies to reduce the pain, and we are finding that diet can play an important role in pain management,” he said.

The study had rats with spinal cord injury fed with control chow and chow enriched with omega-3 fatty acids for a total of 16 weeks. The pain tests conducted on the animals showed that the group consuming the omega-3 fatty acids enriched diet exhibited significant less pain.

Dr. De Leon said that “while clinical studies are needed to establish a functional human equivalent for a diet rich in omega-3 acids, there are plenty of benefits in implementing a diet rich in omega-3 because its anti-inflammatory and protective properties.” He said people can have these benefits by consuming two servings of fish, preferably salmon, per week; walnuts and flaxseed oil; or if necessary through over-the-counter supplements.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was conducted at the Loma Linda University Center For Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine.

The study may be accessed on this website: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306452213007835

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About Loma Linda University Health (LLUH)
Loma Linda University Health includes Loma Linda University's eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center's six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located in the Inland Empire of Southern California. Established in 1905, LLUH is a global leader in education, research and clinical care. It offers over 100 academic programs and provides quality health care to 40,000 inpatients and 1.5 million outpatients each year. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, LLUH is a faith-based health system with a mission "to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ."


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