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Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Anti-Inflammatory Action

On : 18 October, 2012

In : Inflammation


Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory action

While inflammation is in fact a protective and restorative response to injury, excessive or prolonged inflammation can cause many chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The classic signs of inflammation?local redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function?are caused and regulated by the activity of a large number of chemical mediators called eicosanoids.

Eicosanoids consist of different hormones that are responsible for numerous cellular functions within the body. There are pro-inflammatory eicosanoids (i.e., those that encourage inflammation) and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids (i.e., those that discourage inflammation).

The production of pro- and anti-inflammatory eicosanoids depends on the type and amount of fatty acids that we consume. Because the standard American diet is rich in fatty acids that heavily promote the production pro-inflammatory eicosanoids, numerous health challenges can arise.

Fortunately, many substances?including the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) found in cold-water fish?have been shown to simultaneously inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids and promote the production of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids. For this reason, supplementation with EPA and DHA may provide a safe and natural way to reduce inflammation and promote overall health.

SOURCE: Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(Suppl):S343-S48.

Advanced Nutrition Publications ©2002


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