Pilot study of dietary fatty acid supplementation in the treatment of adult periodontitis.


Rosenstein ED, Kushner LJ, Kramer N, Kazandjian G.




Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids


The anti-inflammatory effects of both n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have been demonstrated in vitro and in many disease states, in particular in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The benefit of n-3 PUFA supplementation has been documented in animal models of periodontal inflammation and a trend towards reduced inflammation has been seen in human experimental gingivitis. The purpose of this study was to examine the potential anti-inflammatory effects of PUFA supplementation, by administration of fish oil as a source of the n-3 PUFA, eicosapentaenoic acid, and borage oil as a source of the n-6 PUFA, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), to adults with periodontitis. Thirty adult human subjects with periodontitis were administered either fish oil 3000 mg daily; borage oil 3000 mg daily; fish oil 1500 and borage oil 1500 mg daily, or placebo. The modified gingival index, the plaque index (PI), periodontal probing depths and beta-glucuronidase levels in gingival crevicular fluid were measured at baseline and after 12 weeks of treatment. Improvement in gingival inflammation was observed in subjects treated with borage oil (P<0.016), with a trend apparent in subjects treated with fish oil or a combination of PUFA. There was no statistically significant improvement in PI, although a trend was apparent in those receiving borage oil. Improvement in probing depth was seen in those subjects treated with either fish oil alone or borage oil alone, but statistical significance was only seen for the comparison of borage oil and placebo (P<0.044). No change was seen in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) beta-glucuronidase levels. The use of borage oil supplementation, a source of the n-6 PUFA, GLA, can have beneficial effects on periodontal inflammation. n-6 PUFA supplementation seemed to offer more impressive results than either n-3 PUFA supplementation or the combination of lower doses of the two supplements. Additional studies will be necessary to more fully assess the potential of these agents to favorably affect periodontal inflammation.