Omega-3 supplements provide potent anti-inflammatory effects, study shows
(NaturalHealth365) Awareness about the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids has risen dramatically in the past decade. Certainly, omega-3 supplements have been shown to help people counter the negative effects of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and many forms of cancer. Simply put, the health-boosting benefits of omega-3s largely come from its anti-inflammatory properties.
Yet, for all the studies conducted on omega-3s, there has been some confusion regarding how they work and why they are so effective. To be perfectly honest: it also isn’t clear if they are effective – across the board – with everyone or if results vary from one individual to another.
The effects of omega-3 supplements on macrophages and the anti-inflammatory response
Now, new research out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) is gleaning insights into omega-3 benefits, particularly their anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are determining how the lipids in omega-3s work to suppress harmful inflammatory reactions within the body. And, it turns out macrophages may play a role.
Macrophages are immune system cells that reside in all organs and tissues of the body.
These immune system cells coordinate the body’s inflammatory reactions while monitoring activity throughout each system. In addition, these cells organize and convert information via receptors on their surfaces and secrete substances to control inflammatory reactions inside the body. (it’s that incredible?!)
Omega-3 fatty acids assist in regulating autophagy and calming the autoimmune response
Macrophages can create different types of inflammatory reactions. “Sterile” reactions triggered by autoimmune diseases can be harmful to the body.
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The inflammatory reaction can be particularly detrimental if activated without the presence of a threat such as a virus or bacterial infection. In some cases, the inflammatory response is far too severe, such as in the case of an organ transplant or autoimmune diseases.
A reaction called autophagy regulates whether a macrophage is hyperactive or calm. It allows for the purging of dysfunctional or unnecessary components from the cells in a sort of self-cleaning process.
The researchers believed omega-3 fatty acids might elevate autophagy in macrophages and help to dampen inflammatory reactions. No doubt, the ability of omega-3s to regulate inflammatory reactions is highly effective in combating infections.
Omega-3 supplements can offer support for a range of chronic health issues
In the study, macrophages in both humans and mice were examined. It was found that omega-3 fatty acids helped to activate and enhance autophagy. Inflammatory mechanisms were also dampened, in particular the type 1 interferon response. Factor CXCL-10 is part of this type 1 interferon response; however, it was dramatically reduced in the presence of omega 3 in cardiac patients studied who were taking them.
The NTNU research group believes these results show promise for patients with cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, jaundice and many other health problems. If you aren’t already taking omega-3 supplements, these insights about their anti-inflammatory properties should provide an additional ‘spark of motivation’ to do your own research.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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