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Cod liver oil, Omega-3 fatty acids and pneumonia



Type of Spiritual Experience


Only mice, poor little things, but the principle on which it works will be the same for humans - boosting the immune system

A description of the experience

Can J Microbiol. 2013 Jul;59(7):503-10. doi: 10.1139/cjm-2012-0521.  Dietary supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids ameliorates acute pneumonia induced by Klebsiella pneumoniae in BALB/c mice.  Sharma S1, Chhibber S, Mohan H, Sharma S.  1Department of Microbiology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. sonica.sharma@sify.com

The immune benefits associated with the optimal intake of dietary fatty acids are widely known. The objective of the present investigation was to elucidate the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) food source on acute pneumonia induced by Klebsiella pneumoniae.

Three different n-3 PUFA preparations (cod liver oil, Maxigard, and flaxseed oil) were orally supplemented and infection was induced in different groups of experimental mice. Mice fed olive oil and normal saline served as oil and saline controls, respectively.

After 2 weeks of fatty acid feeding, no effect on the establishment of infection was observed when acute pneumonia was induced in animals.

On the other hand, 6 weeks of n-3 PUFA administration was found to improve resistance in mice, as reduced lung bacterial load coupled with significant improvement in pathology was seen in infected mice.

Alveolar macrophages collected from all 3 groups of mice fed n-3 PUFA exhibited a significant decrease in the level of apoptosis following infection with K. pneumoniae and an enhanced in vitro phagocytic potential for the pathogen. Lower lung levels of nitric oxide, malondialdehyde, and lactate dehydrogenase were associated with a decrease in the severity of tissue damage.

There was a significant increase in the lung levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β)). No significant change was observed in the levels of interleukin-10 (IL-10).

This study highlights that dietary n-3 PUFA supplementation exerts an overall beneficial effect against acute experimental pneumonia. This mechanism is operative through upregulation of nonspecific and specific immune defenses of the host.

PMID:  23826960

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Immune system

Activities and commonsteps



Bacterial infection
Lung disease


Cod liver oil