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Potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation to patients with COVID-19


  • Inflammation is critical for COVID-19 patients.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease inflammation.
  • Clinical studies must consider omega-3 fatty acids as a co-therapy in COVID-19.


Studies have shown that infection, excessive coagulation, cytokine storm, leukopenia, lymphopenia, hypoxemia and oxidative stress have also been observed in critically ill Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients in addition to the onset symptoms.

There are still no approved drugs or vaccines. Dietary supplements could possibly improve the patient's recovery. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), present an anti-inflammatory effect that could ameliorate some patients need for intensive care unit (ICU) admission.

EPA and DHA replace arachidonic acid (ARA) in the phospholipid membranes. When oxidized by enzymes, EPA and DHA contribute to the synthesis of less inflammatory eicosanoids and specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs), such as resolvins, maresins and protectins. This reduces inflammation.

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Marcelo M. Rogero,a,b Matheus de C. Leão,c Tamires M. Santana,b,c Mariana V. de M.B. Pimentel,c Giovanna C.G. Carlini,c Tayse F.F. da Silveira,c Renata C. Gonçalves,d and Inar A. Castrob,c,


aNutritional Genomics and Inflammation Laboratory, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, 01246-904, São Paulo, Brazil

bFood Research Center (FoRC), CEPID-FAPESP, Research Innovation and Dissemination Center of São Paulo Research Foundation, São Paulo, 05468-140, Brazil

cLADAF, Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo-SP, Brazil

dDepartment of Cell and Developmental Biology. Institute of Biomedical Sciences. University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Inar A. Castro: 

Corresponding author. LADAF, Department of Food and Experimental Nutrition, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo, Av. Lineu Prestes, 580, B14, 05508-900, São Paulo, Brazil.