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Vol. 27, No. 4, 2009
Issue release date: April 2009
Cerebrovasc Dis 2009;27:375–383

Is Antioxidant and n–3 Supplementation Able to Improve Functional Status in Poststroke Patients? Results from the Nutristroke Trial

Garbagnati F. · Cairella G. · De Martino A. · Multari M. · Scognamiglio U. · Venturiero V. · Paolucci S.
aCentro Studi Alimentazione e Riabilitazione, IRCCS Fondazione S. Lucia, bDepartment of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata, and cIRCCS Fondazione S. Lucia, Rome, Italy

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Background: To test whether supplementary antioxidants and n–3 fatty acids, alone or in combination, could improve functional status in stroke survivors. Methods: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial in 72 stroke patients (47 males; age 65.3 ± 12.9 years) admitted to a rehabilitation hospital for sequelae of first-ever ischemic stroke, and divided them into 4 subgroups. Group 1 patients received daily oral antioxidants, group 2 received n–3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, group 3 both supplements, and group 4 placebo, all for 12 months. No difference at baseline was observed among groups in neurological severity or in disability. All measures were repeated after 6 and 12 months of treatment. All major clinical events were recorded. Results: At baseline, 25% of the patients had a low plasma vitamin status, and 48.5% was at risk of undernutrition. At the 1-year follow-up, we observed a trend for lower mortality (p = 0.060) in subgroups treated with n–3 fatty acids, but without significant differences in rehabilitation result status among groups. Conclusions: Malnutrition is widely observed in patients admitted to a rehabilitative hospital for stroke rehabilitation, and dietary supplementation, even if not able to improve rehabilitation results, is likely to reduce mortality at the 1-year follow-up.

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