Anorexia nervosa (AN) carries the highest risk of morbidity and mortality amongst psychiatric disorders.

The efficacy of current treatment approaches is limited. Despite the fat-phobic nature of the disease, poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) have not received much research attention. Patients who consume western diet, which is rich in n-6 PUFAs and trans-fatty acids, are likely to develop severe n-3 PUFA deficiency during self-induced starvation. Re-feeding programmes do not take into consideration n-3 EFA intake, possibly leading to further n-3 PUFA deficiency during weight restoration, and this might contribute to the maintenance of the disorder. To test this hypothesis, we carried out a systematic case series of E-EPA supplementation in the treatment of AN.

Seven young patients received 1g/day E-EPA in addition to standard treatment, and were followed up for 3 months. Three of them recovered and four improved. Randomised controlled trials are warranted to examine the effectiveness of E-EPA in AN further.