To determine the effect of dietary supplementation with n-3 fatty acids (FA) in paediatric burned patients who had less than 20% of total body surface affected.

Burned patients were randomly assigned into two groups, one of them received a supplement of n-3 FA during 5 weeks; the other group was considered as not n-3 supplemented burned group. A third group of no burned patients was selected as control. Blood samples were collected at admission and in burned groups at the final of the study. Plasma and erythrocyte phospholipid FA composition and some biochemical parameters related to the clinical evolution: total plasma proteins and C3 and C4 complement proteins were determined.

In the early post-burn patients, there is an increase in saturated and monounsaturated FAs in plasma phospholipids, and a decrease in polyunsaturated FAs compared with control. These alterations are in favour of proinflammatory response to burn injury. In n-3 FA supplemented group, these changes were further reverted, and a favourable response in the amount of total plasma proteins and in C3 and C4 proteins of the complement system was demonstrated.

Dietary n-3 FA supplementation might be beneficial for patients suffering thermal injury.