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Fish Oil Supplements May Help Canker Sores
January 31, 2014

By Nancy Volkers
InteliHealth News Service

INTELIHEALTH - Omega-3 fatty acid pills may help people with canker sores, says new research.

The study was done by researchers at October 6 University in Cairo, Egypt. It included 50 people. All of them had canker sores. These are shallow, painful sores in the mouth. Some heal within 1 or 2 weeks. Others can take up to 6 weeks.

People in the study were randomly assigned to take either pills containing omega-3 fatty acids or placebo pills that contained no omega-3s. No one in the study knew which pills they were taking.

The omega-3 group took 1 gram of omega-3s, 3 times per day. The study continued for 6 months.

Three months into the study, people taking omega-3s had fewer sores and less pain. Their sores also went away sooner, compared with the group taking placebo pills.

These results persisted through the end of the study.

Up to one in three adults has canker sores at some point. Many factors have been suggested as affecting people's risk of canker sores. They include:

  • Family history
  • Mouth injury
  • Tobacco use
  • Some drugs
  • Deficiencies of iron, vitamin B12 or folic acid
  • Gluten sensitivity, celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Stress
  • Some bacteria and viruses

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have multiple health benefits. They are thought to reduce inflammation throughout the body. They also have been linked with improved brain function.

There is no established treatment to cure or prevent canker sores. This is the first study to examine whether omega-3 supplements might help symptoms.

The study appears in the February issue of the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology.

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