New Evidence Supports Anti-inflammatory Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for People with Lupus
When it comes to preventing and treating lupus, Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) Gina M. Finzi Memorial Student Summer Fellowship (Finzi) award winner Kathryn Wierenga has affirmed the potentially protective role of omega-3 fatty acids. In her research project, feeding lupus-prone mice a diet with added docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) resulted in preventing the disease’s development. This is likely due to DHA’s ability to minimize inflammatory pathways in immune cells, which Wierenga is currently investigating.
These findings may help inform future nutrition strategies to help people with lupus manage the side effects that arise from inflammation. Improved understanding of how omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids reduce or promote inflammation, combined with individual assessment of patient unsaturated fatty acid levels, is critical to implementing personalized dietary strategies to combat disease. As medicine becomes increasingly personalized, research like this is essential for understanding how individual diet choices may affect symptom management and disease outcomes.
Although Wierenga’s research supported by LFA’s Finzi award has come to an end, she plans to continue her investigation and publish her findings. “This award has allowed me to meet and get to know some really wonderful people at the Lupus Foundation of America. It has opened my eyes to the closeness of the lupus community. I would love for my long-term career to be focused on lupus research, or at least on some topic related to autoimmune disease,” she adds. Each year, the Finzi award grant program connects students with leading scientists in the lupus field to advance lupus research and contribute to future therapies, prevention strategies and educational programs. Learn more about Wierenga and her research efforts.