| cardiovascular

Omega-3s Working Against Chronic Inflammation

EPA and DHA: The Important Role Regulating the Immune System

Researchers at Tufts University studied omega 3 fatty acids and determined they have different impacts on inflammation. In a 34 week trial, 21 adults aged 50 to 75 years received either eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplements. In earlier studies, EPA and DHA were reported to lower risk of heart disease and reducing inflammation. The results of this new, small study are reported in the journal Atherosclerosis.

Highlights:

  • DHA lowered the genetic expression of 4 types of pro-inflammatory proteins; EPA lowered 1
  • DHA lowered white blood cell secretion of 3 types of pro-inflammatory proteins; EPA lowered 1
  • DHA reduced an anti-inflammatory protein levels; EPA did not
  • EPA improved pro- and anti-inflammatory proteins balance
  • EPA produced immune function regulation by-products and worked differently from those derived from DHA

Stefania Lamon-Fava, a scientist on the Cardiovascular Nutrition Team at USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, commented, “The jury has been out, so to speak, on how the two major components of fish oil work – and whether one might be better than the other. These results suggest that DHA is the more powerful of the two on markers of inflammation in the body, but that’s not the end of the story. Our study gives us a snapshot of how EPA and DHA may work to reduce chronic inflammation, and how each has distinct effects. Our results provide insight for future research to explore why that is the case and who would benefit from one or both of these healthy fats.”

 

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