Omega-3 fatty acid effective in recovery of olfactory symptoms among Covid-19 survivors

USA: A new research presented at the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting OTO Experience, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, suggests that large doses of omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) supplementation at a 6-week follow-up time-point resulted in better olfactory recovery in COVID-related Olfactory dysfunction (OD) patients.

Olfactory impairment is a common and distinctive symptom in people with COVID-19 infection. Despite the fact that the majority of patients with COVID-related OD make a considerable recovery, there remains a sizable community of patients with chronic OD who have few treatment alternatives. Therefore, this study was carried out by David Lerner and colleagues to examine the impact of omega-3 fatty acids in individuals with OD caused by COVID-19.

A prospectively recruited cohort of patients were enrolled in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical study between March 2020 and October 2021 who had laboratory-confirmed or clinically suspected COVID-19 infection and self-reported new-onset OD. Patients having a score on the Brief Smell Identification Test (BSIT) of 9 or below who had evidence of quantitative OD qualified for research enrollment. The control group got a similar placebo, whereas the experimental group received 2g of omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) supplementation, to be taken daily for 6 weeks. This included 504mg of docosahexaenoic acid and 1,366mg of eicosapentaenoic acid. The change in BSIT score between the original test and the 6-week follow-up BSIT was the main result.

The key findings of this study were:

1. 117 patients total, including 60 in the placebo group and 57 in the O3FA group, were included in the study.

2. Prior to study enrolment, OD lasted an average of 200.1 days, with no discernible difference between groups (p=0.685).

3. In comparison to the placebo group, patients receiving O3FA supplements showed a mean BSIT improvement of 1.12 ± 1.99 as opposed to 0.68 ± 1.86 (p = 0.385).

4. Patients in the O3FA group (n=23) showed a BSIT improvement of 2.30 ± 1.77 compared to 1.63 ± 1.82 among those in the placebo group (n=16, p=0.255) among those with severe hyposmia, defined as a BSIT score of 7 or below.

In conclusion, to more clearly identify the efficacy and sustainability of omega-3 FA supplementation as a therapy for OD caused by COVID, further research will be required in depth.


Lerner. D, Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the Treatment of COVID-related Olfactory Dysfunction, AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting OTO Experience, 2022