CHICAGO—Omega-3 fatty acids may explain the obesity paradox observed in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to study findings presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 2016 Kidney Week meeting.

In a prospective cohort study of 155 hemodialysis (HD) patients, Ana Rita Martins, MD, of DaVita Óbidos, Portugal, and colleagues found that higher body mass index (BMI) was associated with significantly higher incorporation of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) omega-3 fatty acids into red blood cell (RBC) membranes, and higher EPA-DHA incorporation into RBC membranes was associated with a significantly lower number of cardiovascular events.

In a poster presentation, Dr Martins’ team concluded that there appears to be a consistent association between obesity and higher omega-3 incorporation into RBC membranes, with better clinical outcomes in their cohort of HD patients. “This fact may suggest a possible explanation for the reverse obesity epidemiology in advanced CKD.”

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Evaluation of omega-3 fatty acid incorporation into RBC membranes involved centrifugation of 10 mL of total blood at 3000 rpm for 5 minutes. The percentage of EPA and DHA was measured by high-performance liquid chromatography.

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  1. Martins AR, et al. Obesity paradox in hemodialysis: Could omega 3 be the link? Poster presentation presented at the 2016 Kidney Week meeting in Chicago, Nov. 15-20. Poster TH-PO740.