There is evidence to suggest an association between chronic fatigue syndrome and essential fatty acids. Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterised by severe and disabling fatigue, but without a path-physiologic explanation. Moreover, there is support in the scholarly literature to define chronic fatigue syndrome as a heterogenous disorder following a viral infection or period of stress. In addition to fatigue, individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome also report a number of other symptoms including musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, impairmed short term memory and concentration, sore throats and headaches of a new type, pattern and severity. In a 2004 study undertaken by The Imperial College School of Medicine, London, a series of paients with chronic fatigue syndrome were treated solely with a high eicosapentaenoic (EPA) (930 mg) containing essential fatty acid (290 mg DHA; 100 mg GLA; 16 mg Vitamin E) (Puri, 2004). EPA is considered the therapeutic ingredient within an omega 3 fish oil. In this study, all participants showed an improvement in their symptoms within 8 to 12 weeks of beginning supplementation. Participants noted an improvement in memory and concentration, and increased space between relapses (12 per month in winter to 3 per month). These results suggest that omega 3 fatty acids may be an effective treatment for patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Puri, B.K. 2004. The use of eicosapentaenoic acid in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 70, 399-401.