Sandeep Gill won the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) for 4 months of summer research on her project titled “Fish oil supplementation has a differential effect during murine colitis dependent on background fatty acids.”
The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of fatty acids with or without fish oil supplementation on ulcerative colitis. Emerging evidence has identified dietary lipid intake to be an important factor contributing to the etiology of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). In the past 30 years, the western lipid diet has shifted from saturated fats (SFAs) to “heart-healthy” polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The health effects of omega-6 PUFA are in question as new evidence reveals the detrimental impacts of excessive omega-6 PUFA dietary intakes. This study looks at the effects of different fatty acids (omega-6 PUFA, monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), and SFA). Furthermore, the effects of fish oil supplementation (omega-3 PUFA) on colitis are conflicting and need to be clarified. This study will help determine whether fish oil has a differential effect depending on the background diet that is being consumed. This will have significant implications when considering the contradicting evidence for dietary fish oil supplementation in IBD patients.