Omega-3 fatty acids have been in making headlines for a while. We’ve known that they are beneficial to the body and help reduce inflammation. What we have not known is how these compounds work within the body to produce these positive changes. We now have a better understand of these complex and effective fatty acids.
A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has revealed more information about what happens to omega-3 fatty acids once they are broken down in the body. The results of this study are giving researcher new information about how to reduce or stop inflammatory responses.
This study showed that once broken down, omega-3 fatty acids are converted into compounds that include components called resolvins. Resolvins are far more potent than the omega-3s they come from, up to 10,000 times more potent. These compounds can help halt the inflammatory process.
A normal immune system uses inflammation to heal the body and repair damage. This process can also go into overdrive in autoimmune diseases like arthritis. The immune system attacks the body’s own tissues causing damage and pain. The process that begins this overzealous attack has an “off” switch as well as an “on”. Resolvins can help flip this switch off.
Lead researcher Charles Serhan, PhD, director, Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Harvard Medical School, Boston says that more research is still needed. According to Serhan, more information is needed to find out just how much omega-3 is needed to produce the optimal amount of resolvins within the body.