Low omega-3 index and polyunsaturated fatty acid status in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis

Jesús Castro-Marrero, Maria Cleofé Zaragozá, Joan Carles Domingo, Alba Martinez-Martinez, José Alegre, Clemens von Schacky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

8 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Background: Several studies have suggested that low levels of omega-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are associated with cardiovascular risk, major depression, sleep problems, inflammation and other health-related issues. So far, however, erythrocyte PUFA status in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) has not been established. This study aimed to determine whether n-3 PUFA content and omega-3 index are associated with measures in CFS/ME patients. Patients and Methods: PUFA levels and omega-3 index were measured in 31 Spanish CFS/ME patients using the HS-Omega-3 Index method. Demographic and clinical characteristics and self-reported outcome measures were also recorded. Results: A low mean omega-3 index (5.75%) was observed in 92.6% of the sample. Omega-3 index was inversely correlated with the AA/EPA ratio (p = 0.00002) and the BMI (p = 0.0106). In contrast, the AA/EPA ratio was positively associated with the BMI (p = 0.0038). No association for FIS-40 and PSQI measures was found (p > 0.05). Conclusion: The low omega-3 index found in our CFS/ME patients may indicate increased risks for cardiovascular health, which should be further investigated. A low omega-3 index also suggests a pro-inflammatory state in these patients. Attempts should be made to increase the omega-3 index in CFS/ME patients, based on intervention trials assessing a potential therapeutic value.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-24
JournalProstaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


  • Cardiovascular health
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Inflammation
  • Myalgic encephalomyelitis
  • Omega-3 index
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids


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