Healthy Omega-3 Fats May Slow Deadly Pulmonary Fibrosis

January 4, 2024 by

John Kim, MD

John Kim, MD

Could healthy fats found in nuts and fish slow the progression of potentially deadly lung scarring known as pulmonary fibrosis and delay the need for lung transplants?

UVA pulmonary researchers looked at the association between blood-plasma levels of omega-3 fatty acids – the heart-healthy fats found in foods such as salmon and flaxseeds – and the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, as well as how long patients could go without needing a transplant. The researchers found that higher levels of omega-3 were associated with better lung function and longer transplant-free survival.

While more research is needed, the researchers say their findings warrant clinical trials to determine if interventions that raise omega-3 levels could be a useful tool to improve outcomes for patients with pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases.

“We found that higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, which reflects several weeks of dietary intake, were linked to better lung function and longer survival,” said researcher John Kim, MD, a pulmonary and critical care expert at UVA Health and the University of Virginia School of Medicine. “Our findings suggest omega-3 fatty acids might be a targetable risk factor in pulmonary fibrosis.”

Read full press release in UVA Health newsroom.

Filed Under: Faculty, Research