Fish Oils Fight Inflammation
If you suffer from an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the type of fat in the diet can alter the immune system’s inflammatory response. According to research done by Dr Richard Sperling of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, fish oil may reduce inflammatory substances produced by white blood cells.
Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cell. They make a molecule called leukotriene B4 (LTB4), which plays a critical role in promoting inflammation. The starting material for this leukotriene is a polyunsaturated fatty acid called arachidonic acid. Arachadonic acid is derived from the types of polyunsaturated fatty acids found in land-based plants and animals.
Fish oil is chemically different from arachadonic acid. It contains eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. These fatty acids can take the place of arachidonic acid in the neutrophil’s LTB4 manufacturing process, resulting in slightly different end products. These products have a less inflammatory effect than LTB4 itself.
This study shows that dietary eicosapentaenoic acid reduces the production of LTB4 by neutrophils. It is consistent with a number of studies that show the anti-inflammatory effect of fish oils.