- Chia (Salvia hispanica) Seed Oil
- End-Stage Renal Disease
Re: Chia Seed Oil May Be Effective in Improving Pruritus Symptoms
SK, Park HJ,
Park BD, Kim I-H. Effectiveness of topical chia seed oil on pruritus of
end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients and healthy volunteers. Ann Dermatol.
Xerosis (dry skin) and pruritus (skin itch)
are often seen in patients with diabetes or with end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Subjective evaluation is generally used to measure the efficacy of treatment.
Topical products are used to alleviate the symptoms of pruritus but usually
without complete resolution. The oral consumption of fish oils, rich in n-3
fatty acids, is known to help relieve pruritus. Chia (Salvia hispanica)
seed oil is rich in n-3 fatty acids, which possess anti-inflammatory
properties. In this small, placebo-controlled study, the authors measured the
effect of topical chia seed oil on pruritus and xerosis in both ESRD patients
and healthy volunteers.
Eleven patients with diabetes or ESRD, who
had been treated in the Department of Dermatology, Endocrinology, and
Nephrology at Ansan
Hospital at Korea
University College of Medicine, were recruited, as well as 5 healthy volunteers
with symptoms of xerotic pruritus. Six of the 11 patients with diabetes
withdrew from the study for personal reasons, leaving 5 patients (3 with
diabetes and 2 with ESRD) to complete the 8-week study. The 2 patients with
ESRD were undergoing hemodialysis. The patients were all men, with a mean age
of 49 years. The 5 healthy subjects with pruritus included 3 men and 2 women,
with a mean age of 31.6 years.
The authors used topical chia seed oil
containing moisturizers as an oil-in-water lotion formula with 4% chia seed
oil. Moisturizers without chia seed oil were used as placebo samples.
The subjects (including the 5 patients with
diabetes or ESRD and 5 healthy volunteers) were allowed to apply the
moisturizers to either the left or right side of the body whenever needed,
thoroughly rubbing them in. They applied placebo moisturizer to the other side
of the body at the same time and in the same way.
The subjects completed a questionnaire and
rated their pruritus symptoms every 2 weeks. Subjective evaluation of degree of
satisfaction and improvement of skin dryness, pruritus, abrasion, lichen
simplex chronicus, and prurigo nodularis were all scored on a 6-point scale. Also,
functional measurements of skin conditions such as epidermal permeability
barrier function (expressed by transepidermal water loss [TEWL]), skin
hydration (expressed by skin capacitance), and skin surface pH were also
performed every 2 weeks.
The authors report that the subjects with
ESRD or diabetes reported an overall increase in subjective satisfaction at 2,
4, and 8 weeks of treatment; however, the data were not statistically
In the same subjects, a statistically
significant improvement in skin dryness was observed at 4 weeks after treatment
and was maintained throughout the study (P<0.05). A statistically
significant improvement of lichen simplex chronicus and prurigo nodularis was
also observed (P<0.05). An improvement was reported for pruritus and
abrasion; however, it was not statistically significant (P>0.05). In the
subjects with ESRD, a significant alleviation in lichenified brownish patches
on the foot and erythematous wheal-like eruptions on the leg was observed after
8 weeks of treatment.
The healthy subjects with xerotic pruritus
symptoms reported a statistically significant increase in overall degree of
satisfaction after 4 weeks of treatment (P<0.05), which continued throughout
the study. The subjective assessment revealed improvements in all symptoms,
though they were not statistically significant.
For the subjects with underlying disease, no
significant changes in TEWL values were seen with either the chia seed oil or
placebo. However, skin capacitance, which represents skin hydration, was below
normal values before treatment and gradually increased during treatment in the
skin treated with the chia seed oil containing moisturizer. After 8 weeks of chia
seed oil treatment, a statistically significant improvement in skin capacitance
was observed, compared with baseline (P<0.05). No significant changes in
skin surface pH were observed during the treatment with either the chia seed
oil or placebo.
In the healthy subjects, no significant
changes were seen in TEWL, skin capacitance, or skin surface pH during the
The authors conclude that, "Topical chia
seed oil is effective for pruritus and xerosis treatment and is also beneficial
for skin moisturization in healthy volunteers with xerotic pruritus, as well as
patients with chronic renal failure or diabetes." [Editor's Note: Because
of the small sample size and lack of detail in the methods of reporting (i.e.,
method of treatment and placebo application and composition), additional
studies are required before strong conclusions can be drawn.] Chia seed oil
should be further investigated as an adjuvant therapy for chronic eczematous
dermatitis such as atopic dermatitis with pruritus and xerosis.