Improvement of alteration of intervertebral discs in vivo by supplementation with omega-3

This in vivo study have been performed in 12 Sprague Dawley rats which were needle-punctured to induce disc degeneration. After surgery, rats were randomly allocated to 530 mg/kg/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a 2: 1 ratio or no supplementation during 2 months.

After 1 month, a reduction of blood arachidonic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid ratios from 40 to 20 was demonstrated in the supplemented group. After 2 months, micro-magnetic resonance imaging analysis showed an injury-induced reduction of intervertebral disc hydration, which was attenuated in rats supplemented with omega-3. Histological evaluation demonstrated the destruction of nucleus pulposus tissue in response to needle puncture injury, which was less severe in the omega-3 supplemented group. In conclusion, n-3 fatty acids dietary supplementation reduces systemic inflammation by lowering arachidonic acid/eicosapentaenoic acid ratios in blood serum and has potential protective effects on the progression of spinal disc degeneration, as demonstrated by reduced needle injury-induced dehydration of intervertebral discs and reduced histological signs of intervertebral disc degeneration.

NaPier Z, Kanim LEA, Arabi Y, et al. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation Reduces Intervertebral Disc Degeneration. Med Sci Monit. 2019;25:9531–9537. Published 2019 Dec 14. doi:10.12659/MSM.918649