Fish Oil Stops Inflammation in its Tracks
Jonathan Powell, ND
“Don’t forget to take your fish oil.” As Naturopaths, we say this countless times a day; one of the main reasons we use fish oil clinically is for its anti-inflammatory role in the body. From joint pain to heart disease, the benefits of fish oil have been demonstrated over and over again. Now researchers are one step closer to revealing how it causes changes on the cellular level. The two key components of fish oil are the omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, has been known to help patients with chronic inflammatory diseases, and now the science is catching up to explain these findings.
Scientists at Harvard Medical School and USC have recently published their findings in the July 2013 issue of The FASEB Journal concerning DHA and inflammation. Specifically, they have shown that macrophages (a type of white blood cell) use DHA to produce newly discovered compounds called “maresins.” These substances cause macrophages to change their “type.” Macrophages switch from the inflammatory M1 phenotype to the inflammation-blocking M2 phenotype. Macrophages exposed to DHA actively turn off the process of inflammation.
These findings should encourage you to continue taking a quality fish oil supplement daily. Given the onslaught of toxins and stressors to which our bodies are subjected daily, it is a relief to know that we can do something about it. We can take positive steps toward reducing our chronic inflammatory state. Many fish oil products exist on the market with varying quality. At Elements, we utilize Pharmax’s Finest Pure Fish Oil™. This oil is free of heavy metals and is concentrated in such a manner as to protect the fatty acids themselves. One teaspoon daily provides over two grams of DHA and EPA, which is a great maintenance dose. Also, Pharmax adds orange oil to mask any fishy flavor, so stop by and try a sample and you’ll be hooked.
Dalli, Jesmond, Min Zhu, Nikita A. Vlasenko, Bin Deng, Jesper Z. Haeggström, Nicos A. Petasis, and Charles N. Serhan. 2013. “The Novel 13S,14S-epoxy-maresin Is Converted by Human Macrophages to Maresin 1 (MaR1), Inhibits Leukotriene A4 Hydrolase (LTA4H), and Shifts Macrophage Phenotype.” The FASEB Journal 27 (7) (July 1): 2573–2583. doi:10.1096/fj.13-227728. http://www.fasebj.org/content/27/7/2573.abstract