They occur when the skin breaks down after staying in one position for too long. Constant pressure against the skin reduces the blood supply and the tissue dies.

It’s a problem for people in a wheelchair or bedridden.

Researchers at the Rabin Medical Center in Israel studied the effect of a diet high in fatty acids and vitamins to prevent or heal pressure ulcers.

First, the details.

  • 100 patients with acute lung injury were studied.
  • A diet enriched in the omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); the omega-6 fatty acid, gamma-linolenic acid (GLA); and vitamins (A, C and E) was compared to a diet that was not enriched.

And, the results.

  • There were significantly fewer new pressure ulcers with the enriched diet vs the control group.
  • Healing of existing pressure ulcers was not affected.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “A diet enriched with EPA, GLA, and vitamins A, C and E is associated with a significantly lower occurrence of new pressure ulcers in critically ill patients with acute lung injury.”

Many factors are associated with pressure ulcers, including malnutrition. A well balanced diet is one approach to reducing the risk. Now, the contribution of lipids as well as vitamins and antioxidants is clearer.

3/2/08 12:34 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.