Vitamins and Minerals

Omega Fatty Acids For Inflammation

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What science says about Omega Fatty Acids For Inflammation

Scientists and medical experts agree that omega-3 for inflammation can be beneficial. Three types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), compete with inflammatory markers to take over inflammatory pathways. When the body produces less inflammatory markers, overall inflammation decreases.

Despite the agreement on the benefits of omega-3, some experts question whether omega-6 works to prevent or treat chronic inflammation. Plus, others aren’t sure how effectively omega-9 can treat inflammation.

They argue that more research is needed to confirm whether omega-3 and omega-6 can treat inflammation because the scientific evidence on the anti-inflammatory action of omega fats is contradictory.

Plus, many healthcare experts are concerned because they don’t have much information on omega fats’ mechanism of action. They also don’t know what doses of omega-3, omega-6, or omega-9 fatty acids can prevent or reduce inflammation. Therefore, they call for more research on omega fatty acids and their effect on mediating an inflammatory response.


Opinion in favor of taking Omega-3 to reduce Chronic Inflammation

Supporters of omega fat consumption for anti-inflammatory actions believe that the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) reduce inflammation.

They also believe that omega-6 fatty acids like linoleic acid (LA) and gamma linoleic acid (GLA) may also decrease inflammation. In addition, recent research indicates that omega-9 fats like oleic acid may also lower inflammation levels.

Research suggests that eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) compete for the same pathway in the body as inflammatory markers do. To combat inflammation, the body breaks ALA down into EPA and DHA. Therefore, the more omega-3 available in the body, the less likely inflammatory markers will be released. This reduces overall inflammation in the body.

One study, “The associations of serum n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids with serum C-reactive protein in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study,” shows that men who took omega-6 fatty acids have lower levels of CRP proteins in their blood. Those who had a high intake of omega-6 did not have an “increased anti-inflammatory response.”

Omega-9 fatty acids are also beneficial and can lower inflammation. The study, “Omega-9 Oleic Acid, the Main Compound of Olive Oil, Mitigates Inflammation during Experimental Sepsis,” indicated that one type of omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid, could reduce inflammation by controlling the production of white blood cells and cytokines to balance out the immune response.

Supporters of omega fatty acid consumption for inflammation argue that there are many therapeutic benefits of omega fats that are worthy of being explored even further in the hopes of treating many chronic diseases.

Skeptical views about the benefit of Omega-3 for Chronic Inflammation

Opponents of omega fatty acid consumption for inflammation concede that people may need omega fats in small amounts to maintain their overall health. However, they point out that there is little evidence to support whether the different omega fats can fight inflammation or reduce its symptoms.

Some healthcare experts argue that omega-6 fatty acids are proinflammatory if consumed in large doses. The study, “Dietary omega-6, but not omega-3, polyunsaturated or saturated fatty acids increase inflammation in primary lung mesenchymal cells,” indicated that arachidonic acid (ARA) an omega-6 fatty acid, increased the number of cytokines and interleukin-6 in the blood, increasing the level of inflammation in the body.

Healthcare experts also maintain that an imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 may cancel out the anti-inflammatory properties in omega-3. The ratio of omega-3s to omega-6 should be 1:1. If people eat more omega-6 than omega-3, they may increase inflammation in the body because the eicosanoids produced by the omega- 6 fatty acid ARA are more proinflammatory than the ones produced by the omega-3 fatty acid EPA.

Furthermore, since the exact mechanism of action of the omega fatty acids is not properly understood, some believe that other factors in the food other than the omega-3 components like vitamins or minerals could be beneficial for inflammation.

That is why some experts oppose taking omega-3 supplements and would rather opt for omega-3 rich foods as they believe their benefits can come from a combination of different nutrients.

Also, experts point out that more research needs to be conducted on the different omega fatty acids and their role in combating inflammation in order to clearly understand whether or not omega fats can reduce inflammation.

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