Polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids (ω3 PUFAs) are essential nutrients. Studies indicate that
the incidence of Major Depression (MD) is inversely related to the consumption of fish (which
are rich in ω3-PUFAs) and to the concentration of ω3 PUFAs in the plasma or Red Blood Cell
(RBC) membranes. In several studies, the ω6 to ω3 ratio was elevated (ω6 PUFAs are
pro-inflammatory, compared to ω3). ω3 PUFAs are also inversely associated with anxiety and
neuroticism but apparently not with somatization.
Supplementation of fish oil alleviates joint pain in patients with auto-immune disease.
Inhibition of pro-inflammatory cytokines (which induce both pain and depression-like
symptoms) by ω3 PUFAs may underlie the benefit conferred by fish oil consumption . RBC ω3
PUFA content is lower in patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and chronic fatigue
syndrome, compared to healthy controls. The ω3 PUFA status of fibromyalgia patients has not
Magnesium is an essential nutrient and plays a regulatory role in neural transmission. It is
not known whether magnesium concentration is associated with pain in humans.
The objectives of the current study are to 1) compare the mean RBC omega-3 content in female
fibromyalgia patients compared to that of healthy controls and female SLE patients, and to 2)
assess the correlation between RBC omega-3 content and between the severity of physical (e.g.
pain) and mental (e.g. depression) in fibromyalgia and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE).