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Harvard Study Reveals How Omega-3s Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting off infection, but chronic inflammation can lead to many health issues such as heart attacks, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. While researchers have known for a long time that consuming omega-3s is associated with lower inflammation, no one was sure of the mechanism behind this.

A breaking study has been released from researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women’s Hospital showing that omega-3s – particularly in the DHA form – allow the white blood cells known as macrophages to produce maresins. Maresins are a newly identified mediator that turn off inflammation and start resolution, which is the process of terminating inflammation.

In order to determine the exact effects of omega-3s on inflammation, the researchers examined how maresins are synthesized in the body. They found that the macrophages converted DHA omega-3s into 13S, 14S-epoxy-maresin. The maresin subsequently changed macrophages from the type that creates inflammation (M1 macrophages) to the type that doesn’t (M2 macrophages).

This is the first study of its kind to determine the exact mechanism connecting omega-3s and lower inflammation. The researchers expect that it will open new doors for therapies treating inflammation.

The study was published in the July 2013 issues of The FASEB Journal.

Omega-3s have been linked to a number of health benefits, including alleviating arthritis pain, better moods, improved joint mobility, helping with age related macular degeneration, and aiding your immune system.

Because omega-3 fatty-acids are not found naturally in the human body, it is especially important to make sure that they are a part of your daily diet. Oily, dark fish such as tuna and salmon are high in DHA and EPA omega-3s.

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