Chronic inflammation is a major factor in a wide range of problems from arthritis to cardiovascular disease, and DHA (found in fish oil) is known to temper this problem.
A new study shows that DHA seems to be a vital player in the production of molecules called maresins, which are able to turn "off" inflammation.
Inflammation is not all bad -- it's our bodies' natural response to infection and injury. But when inflammation becomes chronic -- meaning our body is always mounting a defense and won't turn off -- that's when health risks arise. Chronic inflammation has been linked with ills ranging from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer's disease.
In this study, researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Southern California and the Karolinska Institutet found that a kind of white blood cell called the macrophage converts DHA to make maresins. Maresins then are able to prompt macrophages to turn from an inflammation-causing type to a non-inflammation-causing type.
"We hope that the results from this study will enable investigators to test the relevance of the maresin pathway in human disease," said Charles N. Serhan, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass.
"Moreover, we hope to better understand resolution biology and its potential pharmacology so that we can enhance our ability to control unwanted inflammation and improve the quality of life."
The above story is based on the July 1,2013 news release by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology(FASEB)
The study has been published in The FASEB Journal:
Dalli J, Zhu M, Vlasenko NA, Deng B, Haeggström JZ, Petasis NA, Serhan CN. The novel 13S,14S-epoxy-maresin is converted by human macrophages to maresin 1 (MaR1), inhibits leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H), and shifts macrophage phenotype. FASEB J. 2013 Jul;27(7):2573-83. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-227728