Omega-3 fats lower systemic inflammation to help prevent most chronic diseases
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by: John Phillip
The lead study author, Dr. Edward Dennis noted"There have been tons of epidemiological studies linking health benefits to omega-3 oils, but not a lot of deep science... this is the first comprehensive study of what fish oils actually do inside a cell."His team set out to determine if they could manipulate the precise mechanism exerted by fish oil to limit inflammation at the cellular level, and disrupt the detrimental process before it begins, leading to a multitude of deadly chronic illnesses.
Researchers fed white blood cell macrophages (immune cells) with three types of fatty acids, long-chain omega-3 fats, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the omega-6 fat, arachidonic acid (AA). At high levels of circulation, fatty acids are toxic, and cells sequester them into their membranes where they are used to provide structure and provide a permeable barrier for the flow of oxygen and nutrients. When we experience regular and constant stress, the fatty acids are released, producing the damaging effects of systemic inflammation.
Short term inflammation is essential for survival as it protects from bacterial and viral invasions, but threatens our health and life when it persists at a low level for months and years. The scientists found that omega-3 fats inhibit an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which produces the prostaglandin hormones that spark inflammation. Researchers also noted that the long-chain fats stimulate the production of lipoxygenases (LOX) that have an anti-inflammatory effect on cellular function to help prevent disease.
Dr. Dennis concluded"We've been able to look inside a cell, see what fish oils do and determine that the process of inflammation at this level may be manipulatable."Nutrition experts recommend eating fatty fish at least twice per week or supplementing with a distilled fish oil supplement (1200 to 2400 mg EPA/DHA per day) or from regular consumption of flax/chia seeds, walnuts and almonds to combat the deadly diseases of inflammation and extend natural lifespan.
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