Food and Behaviour Research

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A pilot open case series of Ethyl-EPA supplementation in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.

Ayton, A.K., Azaz, A., Horrobin, D.F. (2004) Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.  71(4) 205-9. 

Web URL: View this abstract via Pubmed here


Anorexia nervosa (AN) carries the highest risk of morbidity and mortality amongst psychiatric disorders. The efficacy of current treatment approaches is limited. Despite the fat-phobic nature of the disease, poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have not received much research attention. Patients who consume western diet, which is rich in n-6 PUFAs and trans-fatty acids, are likely to develop severe n-3 PUFA deficiency during self-induced starvation. Re-feeding programmes do not take into consideration n-3 EFA intake, possibly leading to further n-3 PUFA deficiency during weight restoration, and this might contribute to the maintenance of the disorder. To test this hypothesis, we carried out a systematic case series of E-EPA supplementation in the treatment of AN. Seven young patients received 1g/day E-EPA in addition to standard treatment, and were followed up for 3 months. Three of them recovered and four improved. Randomised controlled trials are warranted to examine the effectiveness of E-EPA in AN further.