I am reporting here about a publication that essentially says “inflammation extinguished by omega-3”. Since the mid 1990’s medical researchers have known that heart attacks, strokes, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and many other illnesses are either associated by chronic inflammation or even caused by it. On the other hand it has been known that omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil have anti-inflammatory action.
In this context a significant study has come out in February of 2014 where a metaanalysis of 68 randomized trials was done examining the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on 4601 participants. Three groups were the subjects of examination: a group with chronic autoimmune diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, celiac disease etc.), a group with chronic non-autoimmune diseases (like diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease etc.) and a group of healthy people. Three inflammatory markers were used to measure inflammation, the C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
The results were that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation lowered CRP and IL-6 markers in all subjects. Chronic non-autoimmune disease (diabetes mellitus, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disorders, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease) responded better to omega-3 supplementation with a greater reduction of IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha than the autoimmune group. The control group also experienced lowering of their markers although they were much lower to start with. Contrary to those findings, an obese group with a body mass index of greater than 30.0 showed no change in all three inflammatory markers when omega-3 fish oil capsules had been given.
A subset of patients was examined where omega-3 was derived from fish (no supplements given). These patients showed a decrease in IL-6, but no reduction of CRP or of tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
It is interesting to note that molecularly distilled fish oil (omega-3 and DHA) by itself was a stronger anti-inflammatory agent than fish. It appears that people with chronic autoimmune diseases likely will need higher amounts of fish oil to notice an anti-inflammatory benefit than those with chronic non-autoimmune diseases. The message for those who want to keep healthy: eat fish, but still supplement with molecularly distilled fish oil capsules.
More information is available at Overview Of Medicine.
Reference: PLoS One. 2014 Feb.5;9(2):e88103.