Topical Corn Oil in the Management of Essential Fatty Acid Deficiency

Document Type


Publication Date


Find in a Library

Catalog Record


Conflicting anecdotal reports about the efficacy of topical linoleate in managing essential fatty acid deficiency prompted this prospective study of 10 critically ill surgical patients receiving continuous total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Ten ml of corn oil (4800 mg of linoleate) were massaged into the skin daily commencing after 7.7 +/- 3.8 (mean +/- SD) days of fat-free intake. Plasma samples were obtained weekly. Total lipids were extracted and methylated, and fatty acids were quantitated by gas-liquid chromatography. The triene:tetraene ratio (20:3[omega]9/20:4[omega]6) increased progressively in patients despite corn oil therapy. In 89% of patients the ratio exceeded 0.2, which is diagnostic of essential fatty acid deficiency (EFAD). Topical application of corn oil does not prevent or treat EFAD in patients on TPN.

(C) Williams & Wilkins 1983. All Rights Reserved.

Catalog Record