Research claims fish oil might reduce inflammation

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Kathmandu, December 17

A recent research revealed that fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, could be useful in reducing inflammation.

A team of researchers of the William Harvey Research Institute at Queen Mary University of London in UK tested effect of an enriched fish oil supplement in 22 healthy volunteers aged between 19 to 37 years, as per the Medical News Today.

The researchers found that an enriched fish oil supplement increased blood levels of certain anti-inflammatory molecules, called specialized pro-resolving mediators (SPMs). Such molecules have a powerful effect on white blood cells, as well as controlling blood vessel inflammation.

Although, scientists were already aware that the body produces SPMs by breaking down essential fatty acids, including some omega-3 fatty acids but they were unclear about the relationship between supplement intake and circulating levels of SPMs.

Interesting thing about the research is that the team conducted the Circulation Research study as a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial and during the research neither the participants nor those who gave them the doses and monitored them knew who received fish oil supplements and who received the placebo.

"We used the molecules as our biomarkers to show how omega-3 fatty acids are used by our body and to determine if the production of these molecules has a beneficial effect on white blood cells," told senior study author Jesmond Dalli, who is a professor of molecular pharmacology at the William Harvey Institute, as quoted by Medical News Today.

The researchers tested three doses of enriched fish oil supplement against the placebo by taking samples of the participants' blood to test and each participant gave five samples over 24 hours — at baseline and then 2, 4, 6, and 24 hours after taking their dose of supplement or placebo.

The tests also revealed that supplementation led to a dose-dependent increase in immune cell attacks against bacteria and a decrease in cell activity that promotes blood clotting.

Inflammation is a defense response by the immune system that is essential to health. Various factors can trigger the response, including damaged cells, toxins, and pathogens such as bacteria.

Some of the immune cells that are active during inflammation can also damage tissue, so it is important, once the threat is over, for inflammation to subside to allow healing. Putting a stop to inflammation is where anti-inflammatory agents, such as SPMs, have a role.

Earlier, this year study in NEJM revealed that a prescription formula containing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) could reduce heart attachks and strokes—and deaths relating to these events — in people who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease or already have it. EPA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is present in fish oil.

However, Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, who is a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, MA, and who led that study, says that there is no reliable evidence that over-the-counter supplements can have the same effect.

Last modified on 2019-12-18 11:12:28

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