The Inflammation-Fighting Component of Omega-3s

With fish oil fast becoming a more popular treatment for inflammation in conventional medicine, researchers are learning how the components of omega-3 fatty acids actually work. Harvard scientists have discovered a new class of fats in the body -- resolvins -- that control inflammation. Made from omega-3 fatty acids, resolvins stop the migration of inflammatory cells to sites of inflammation and turn on other inflammatory cells.

Researchers identified this specific fat in blood plasma samples taken from patients given omega-3 fatty acids and aspirin (which also stimulates the production of resolvins). They also believe E1, one specific form of resolvin, plays a very important role in fighting inflammation.

Interestingly enough, researchers also found the COX-2 enzyme is an important component of E1, which means taking COX-2 inhibitors -- unnecessary and toxic drugs -- can actually undermine one of the body's natural defenses.

Even more revealing: Since completing the study, the lead researcher has encouraged his children to eat foods rich in omega-3s! There's no better source for omega-3s than a high quality fish or cod liver oil free from impurities.

Journal of Experimental Medicine March 2005, Volume 201, Number 5, 713-722

BBC News March 13, 2005

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