Omega-3 Fatty-Acids Display Anti-Inflammatory Qualities
Omega-3 fatty-acids have been making health news since the 1970s, when researchers first discovered the important role they play in our health. Most recently, a small study suggests that omega-3 supplementation may lower markers of inflammation in overweight individuals.
The study was published online ahead of print on May 26, 2012, in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. It was conducted by researchers at Ohio State University.
The study included 138 participants with an average age of 51, 91% of whom were overweight. 47% of the overweight participants were classified as obese. Over the course of four months, they consumed one of three interventions:
1. 1.25 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (868.75 mg EPA, 145 mg DHA)
2. 2.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids (2085 mg EPA, 348 mg DHA)
3. a placebo
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted a 10% reduction in inflammatory markers in the low dose group and a 12% reduction in the high dose group. In comparison, the placebo group showed a 36% increase.
They also noted decreases in the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) of 0.2% in the low dose group and 2.3% in the high dose group, while the placebo group showed an average 12% increase. TNF-alpha is a marker of systemic inflammation.
Due to the small participant size of the study, the researchers feel that more extensive investigation is warranted to confirm the results found here.
In addition to anti-inflammatory benefits, omega-3s have been shown to alleviate arthritis pain, improve mood, improve joint mobility, help with age related macular degeneration, and bolster the 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, while ALA omega-3 fatty-acids are plant derived and can be found in flaxseed oil, vegetable oil, and walnuts.
If you don’t like fish or you’re worried about the high mercury levels found in some fish, consider taking a daily high quality supplement that has been tested for purity and potency.