Scientists discover the secret anti inflammatory effect of fish oil

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Omega 3 fish oil is now known to have a profound effect on both physical and mental health and is increasingly being used to help prevent heart disease and to combat depression.

No one really knows the exact mechanisms behind how and why fish oil should work so well but researchers believe that part of it has something to do with the way Omega 3 can help to reduce inflammation in the body.

Now, scientists from the California University San Diego School of medicine have taken us one step closer to finding out why Omega 3 has such strong anti-inflammatory effects.

Researchers found that Omega 3 interacts with what are known as Macrophages in the body. Macrophages are specialist white blood cells that help to dispose of harmful molecules. The Macrophages secret a type of protein that triggers inflammation but Omega 3 fatty acids can prevent this.

Without getting bogged down in the technical science of it all, basically the Omega 3 fatty acids, in particular Eicosapentaenoic acid and Docosahexaenoic acid (EPA and DHA) switch on a “receptor” that causes the inflammatory response in the body to switch off.

“It’s just an incredibly potent effect. The omega-3 fatty acids switch on the receptor, killing the inflammatory response” said Professor Jerrold Olefsky, from the University of California at San Diego

“This is nature at work. The receptor evolved to respond to a natural product – omega-3 fatty acids – so that the inflammatory process can be controlled. Our work shows how fish oils safely do this, and suggests a possible way to treating the serious problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation.”

The research is reported in the advance online edition of the September 3 issue of the journal Cell.

Omega 3 fatty acids are found naturally in oily fish like sardines, mackerel, salmon, herring and tuna, but as we all know, it isn’t advisable to eat too much fish due to the potential levels of industrial toxins that can be found in fish.

Yes, we’ve managed to pollute the oceans and the food source that we need for optimum mental and physical health. However, that doesn’t apply to fish oil that has been extracted from these fish and processed to remove the harmful toxins and therefore Omega 3 fish oil is an excellent way of getting Omega 3 fatty acids in the diet.

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