According to a Medline article, the field of “pharmaconutrition” is growing, based on the theory that nutrients found in dietary supplements and/or food could help the critically ill.
This particular trial, the largest of its kind to date, had to be stopped due to negative results. Researchers say the group taking supplements twice daily were on ventilators longer, had more diarrhea and were more likely to die. The differences between the supplement group and control group, however, were not statistically significant.
Contrary to results from previous investigations, including a meta-analysis, The Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED), Salt Lake City, UT, said the present results suggest that a high-fat (>80%) enteral formula supplement with the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (25% of total fat), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), along with the n-6 fatty acid, GLA, and antioxidants does not benefit individuals with ALI. “When the present results, along with the authors’ conclusion that the enteral formula may have been harmful, are compared to the totality of the scientific evidence, dismissal of EPA and DHA as part of a useful treatment option for ALI would be premature, not to mention irresponsible,” the organization said.
Both the researchers and GOED agree that further research is warranted.