Can fish oil supplements improve psoriasis symptoms?

Answers from Brent A. Bauer, M.D.

Psoriasis is less common in populations whose dietary staples include cold-water fish containing omega-3 fatty acids. But study results have been mixed as to whether fish oil supplements can reduce inflammation and improve psoriasis signs and symptoms, such as itching and scaling. The latest findings suggest that fish oil delivered by a needle in a vein (intravenously) reduces psoriasis symptoms more quickly than do fish oil supplements taken by mouth.

One small study indicated that a combination of a calorie-restricted diet and increased omega-3 fatty acids helped control psoriasis in obese people with psoriasis. More study is needed.

Side effects of high-dose fish oil supplements can include a fishy aftertaste, heartburn and nausea. Dosages greater than 3 grams a day may affect blood clotting, increase your risk of bleeding and decrease blood pressure. This may be of particular concern if you're taking blood-thinning medication or high blood pressure medication.

Feb. 18, 2015