The Benefits of Fish Oil to Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is the body’s normal defense response to infection and injury.  It is often associated with redness, swelling, heat and pain.  Normally, inflammation is controlled by the body, and it resolves in a timely way once the injury is resolved.  It is essential to the body’s maintenance of good health.  However, inflammation that does not resolve, or chronic low-grade inflammation, can occur that causes damage to the body’s tissues and results in diseases common to patients at AIR Care such as asthma and allergic disease.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Several clinical and epidemiological studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids, commonly referred to as “fish oil”, help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.  Omega-3 fatty acids—eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)—are important components of the membranes that surround each cell in your body.   EPA and DHA help to inhibit several aspects of inflammation including leukocyte chemotaxis, production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes and production of inflammatory cytokines and T cell reactivity.

Dietary Sources

Your body does not manufacture omega-3 fatty acids so it is important to get them through your diet. EPA and DHA are primarily found in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, rainbow trout and anchovies.  Small amounts of omega-3 are also found in walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed oil.  ALA is found in plants and is available in vegetable oils, nuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed oil, and your body is able to convert a small amount of it to EPA and DHA. 

Omega 3 Supplementation

Most Americans do not consume enough food sources to obtain the 2000 mg of EPA and DHA that are recommended to affect a change in the inflammatory processes. Increasing mercury levels in some fish like tuna, limits the amount that can be safely ingested.  Dr. Herrscher and his team at AIR Care can recommend high quality fish oil supplements to meet your specific needs. 

Resources:; Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2 (3):355-74; Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;75 (3):645-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04374.x.

Diana Kline PA-C

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