Study: Omega-3 Supplementation Reduces Acne Severity


New research suggests there may be potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 FA) in managing acne severity through dietary intervention and supplementation.

Study researchers publishing in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology focused their efforts on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The goal was to elevate EPA/DHA levels in acne patients and observe clinical effects. The authors divided 60 patients into two groups based on acne type (23 with acne comedonica [AC] and 37 with acne papulopustulosa [AP]). Participants then adhered to a Mediterranean diet supplemented with algae-derived ω-3 FA. The supplementation regimen was 600 mg DHA and 300 mg EPA for the first eight weeks, followed by 800 mg DHA and 400 mg EPA for the remaining eight weeks.

The authors measured blood levels of EPA and DHA at four intervals using the HS-omega 3 index. A target range of 8%–11% was established; deficits were defined as levels below 8%, and severe deficits below 4%. Clinical assessments and standardized questionnaires were also used to track patient progress.

In all, 98.3% of participants had an EPA/DHA deficit at baseline (mean HS-omega 3 index increased from 4.9% to 8.3% by the end of the study (P < 0.001). Patients with AC had significantly higher indices compared with those with AP at final assessment (P = 0.035). Both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions showed objective improvements (P < 0.001). Overall quality of life improved, particularly in the AP group (P < 0.001). Dietary triggers of acne were more clearly identified than beneficial foods (P < 0.001). 

"Many patients with acne have an EPA/DHA deficit," the authors concluded. "Lifestyle interventions, including a plant-focused Mediterranean diet and EPA/DHA supplementation for 16 weeks, led to a significant increase in ω-3 FA levels, as assessed by the HS-omega-3 Index®, in patients with mild to moderate acne. Improvements in clinical appearance and quality of life were observed. While this study evaluated the approach as a stand-alone treatment, future studies should investigate ω-3 FA as an adjunct to any acne treatment plan."

Source: Guertler A, et al. Joural of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2024. Doi:10.1111/jocd.16434

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