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Omega-3 fatty acid, DHA switches off cellular inflammation to slash chronic disease risk

Monday, August 12, 2013 by: John Phillip
Tags: omega 3, cellular inflammation, chronic disease

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(NaturalNews) Medical researchers have become increasingly aware that many chronic illnesses ranging from cardiovascular disease and cancer to dementia and arthritis are fueled by excess cellular inflammation. Systemic inflammation creates an environment that is conducive to genetic alterations and can lead to immune system dysfunction as macrophages, normally charged with the function of gobbling up pathogenic invaders, become ineffective as they permit rogue cancer cells to go undetected. Poor diet leading to an omega fat imbalance increases inflammation throughout the body and primes the mechanism that promotes disease.

A research study team from Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston has released the results of their work on the long-chain fatty acid DHA to The FASEB Journal. The scientists provide evidence that helps explain why DHA is a critical factor helping to reduce inflammation. The team determined that macrophages (a type of white blood cell) use DHA to produce 'maresins', which serve as the switch that turns inflammation off and prompts normal immune system activation.

DHA from fish and fish oil supplements boosts human immune response and squelches inflammation

Study researcher, Dr. Charles Serhan, commented, "We hope that the results from this study will enable investigators to test the relevance of the maresin pathway in human disease." The team of scientists deconstructed the metabolic pathway for the synthesis of the white blood cell component maresins and found that human macrophages break down the long-chain fatty acid, DHA to an intermediate form called '14S-epoxy-maresin'. After learning how to synthesize the resulting compound, researchers determined that maresins caused macrophages to change their "type" so they no longer caused inflammation.

Dr. Serhan noted "We hope to better understand resolution biology and its potential pharmacology so that we can enhance our ability to control unwanted inflammation and improve the quality of life." Medical researchers have previously reported over the past decade how omega-3 fats from fatty fish and many nuts and seeds help to lower levels of systemic inflammation and reduce the risk of heart disease, sudden death from a heart attack, diabetes and many forms of cancer. This study provides the first documented evidence to explain how omega-3 fats and specifically, DHA work at the cellular level in concert with our immune system to promote optimal health.

The journal editor concluded "We've known for a long time that DHA tames inflammation, now, we learn exactly how DHA works: via new substances called maresins... we encounter inflammation almost daily, but our body has ways of turning it off. This is an important step toward understanding exactly how this happens." A wealth of scientific research now exists to support the importance of omega-3 fats to promote human immune health and to reduce perpetually elevated levels of inflammation. Specifically, DHA can be obtained in its bioavailable form by consuming fatty fish or through supplementation (1,200 to 2,400 mg EPA/DHA daily).

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About the author:
John Phillip is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and Health Researcher and Author who writes regularly on the cutting edge use of diet, lifestyle modifications and targeted supplementation to enhance and improve the quality and length of life. John is the author of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan', a comprehensive EBook explaining how to use Diet, Exercise, Mind and Targeted Supplementation to achieve your weight loss goal. Visit My Optimal Health Resource to continue reading the latest health news updates, and to download your copy of 'Your Healthy Weight Loss Plan'.

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