Fish oil supplementation found to be effective against Chagas disease

Brazilian and Colombian researchers suggest supplementing with fish oil to prevent Chagas disease, a condition caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The findings of their study were published in the journal Nutrition Research.

  • Evidence shows that fish oil, rich in long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, has a potential benefit on host resistance to parasitic infection.
  • Stemming from this, the researchers hypothesized that daily consumption of fish oil before and during a T. cruzi infection would adversely affect morbidity and mortality.
  • They assessed the effects of fish oil supplementation on key hematological and immunological responses to an acute T. cruzi infection in a mouse model.
  • They treated mice with phosphate-buffered saline, corn oil, or menhaden fish oil — a fat source rich in omega-3 fatty acids — 15 days before exposing them to T. cruzi strain and throughout the acute phase of infection.
  • The results showed that fish oil supplementation was linked to lower levels of parasitemia in the blood seven days after infection, while subsequent cardiac parasitemia was up to 60 percent lower 12 days after infection.
  • Fish oil treatment also reduced leukopenia and thrombocytopenia seen in the early stages of a T. cruzinfection. In addition, it decreased circulating and cardiac nitric oxide at the seventh and 12th days after infection.
  • Supplementation with fish oil also significantly reduced prostaglandin E2 production.

In conclusion, the findings suggest that fish oil supplementation reduced the severity of symptoms of T. cruzi parasitic infection during its early stages.

Read the full text of the study at this link.

To read more studies on the health benefits of fish oil, visit

Journal Reference: 

Lovo-Martins MI, Malvezi AD, da Silva RV, Zanluqui NG, Tatakihara VLH, Câmara NOS, de Oliveira APL, Peron JPS, Martins-Pinge MC, Fritsche KL, Pinge-Filho P. FISH OIL SUPPLEMENTATION BENEFITS THE MURINE HOST DURING THE ACUTE PHASE OF A PARASITIC INFECTION FROM TRYPANOSOMA CRUZI. Nutrition Research. March 2017; 41: 73-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2017.04.007

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