Posts Tagged ‘fish oils and rheumatoid arthritis’

Omega 3 : omega 6 – the rise of chronic disease and illness

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

The human body can synthesise all fatty acids with the exception of omega3 and omega 6 . They are known as essential fatty acids or EFA’S they are the building blocks of cell membranes – brain tissue and nerve tissue – they are essential for the functioning of every cell in your body .They help protect against chronic health conditions and disease , they repair degenerative cells and ensure that the body is fuelled properly . The ideal scenario would be to have a ratio of 1:1 omega 6 : omega 3 this however as we shall see is not the case and the actual ratio in UK , USA , UAE and countries following a westernised diet maybe as much as 25 : 1 omega 6 : omega 3 .

To put this in perspective taking breast cancer as an example studies have shown that an excessive food based intake of Omega – 6( linoleic acid ) is linked to some forms of breast cancer , in subjects whose breast tissue contains high levels of omega-3 they appear to be less prone to this form of cancer which affects 1 in 8 women.

In order to maintain levels of these very important EFA’s you have to take them from food sources – what has happened in the last Century is that there has been an increase in the consumption of Omega 6 (linoleic acid) and a decrease in consumption of Omega 3 ( alpha linoleic acid )

Fats can be divided into two groups saturated and unsaturated fatty acids . Saturated fats are from animals sources , unsaturated fats are your omega 3 , omega 6 and omega 9 . Omega 9 is also known as Oleic acid .

Omega 6 is converted in your body into arachodonic acid (AA) Omega 3 is converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA ) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) the secret to good health is to have a balance between the omega 6 and omega 3 . Unfortunately in our modern diet we consume too much omega 6 and too little omega 3 and it is this inbalance that has resulted in so many of the health problems affecting the population . Part of the problem is the intense farming methods and what we feed animals on as well as that a lot of fish in fish farms are fed an artificial diet so the farmed fish contains less omega 3 than wild cold water fish which feeds on krill . The most common source s of omega 6 in our modern diet is sunflower oil , corn oil , groundnut oil , hemp , safflower and soya oils . These oils are used extensively in the modern food industry just look at the labels of the food you buy – bread , pizza, margarines , ready meals .

A diet high in omega 6 is one that is pro inflammatory – this is due to the fact your body produces more prostaglandins which promote inflammation – inflammation is what precedes disease and many diseases are aggrevated by inflammation ie arthritis , type 2 diabetes , IBD , psoriasis etc . With the western diet showing a ratio of around 25: 1 omega 6 (pro inflammatory ) : omega 3 (anti inflammatory ) it is easy to see what has gone wrong and why we have the increase in so many chronic conditions .

The simple solution is obviously to increase intake of the anti inflammatory omega 3 – EPA and DHA and decrease intake of the pro inflammatory omega 6 sunflower oils , corn oil etc . Very often the simplest way is for most people is to take an omega3 supplement however due to the clever marketing of the companies finding the right supplement is difficult .

You need a supplement that is high in active ingredients specifically EPA which is believed to be the most potent natural anti inflammatory . Takeomega3 has 800mg EPA per capsule which is far in excess of any other omega3 product on shelf – surprisingly the brands advertising 1000mg omega3 are only 30% active ingredients and the other 70% is fat which you dont need !! ., TakeOmega 3 is 90% active ingredients. Research has shown that for an omega3 supplement to be effective it needs to be 80% active ingredients none of the brands on UK shelves offer this . They label highest concentration , pure omega3 , 1000mg omega3 but at the end of the day they are lowin the active ingredients and as a result are not effective . Why waste money on a product that could be as much as 80% fat that you dont need ?

Omega-3 research sheds light on inflammation trigger

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

BBSRC-funded scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered a previously unknown step in early inflammation which is controlled by omega –3 and omega –6 fatty acids, potentially leading to clarification around conflicting health and diet advice on these two essential nutrients.

Dr Ed Rainger, from the Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences at the University, has discovered that a key product in the metabolism of omega –6 fatty acids is an essential signal for neutrophils (white blood cells that form an essential part of the immune system) to cross the endothelium, the thin layer of cells that line the interior surface of blood vessels, to work on inflammation.

Dr Rainger says the findings of the study, funded by BBSRC and the British Heart Foundation, will open up new possibilities: “The identification of these novel mechanisms by which inflammation is regulated may allow us to develop new therapies to intervene when the process of inflammation becomes pathological rather than physiological.”

These latest discoveries bolster the evidence that fish oils have anti-inflammatory effects in addition to other health benefits. Dr Rainger and his team have revealed new steps in the body’s response to tackling inflammation which researchers hope will lead to designing potential new drugs to tackle severe and chronic disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The team also found that the migration of neutrophils could be blocked by the increased levels of omega -3 generated after the endothelial cells had been supplemented with this omega –3 fatty acid.

Dr Rainger and his team conducted the study using a realistic, flow based system that models the process of inflammation at the interface of the circulating blood and inflamed tissue. They were then able to observe the effects of physiological levels of omega –3 and omega –6 fatty acids on the process of recruiting inflammatory blood cells such as neutrophils into the tissue. This process is regulated by endothelial cells lining the blood vessels.

Dr Ed Rainger, said: “Our findings are very significant. They support the idea that omega–6 fatty acids are pro-inflammatory – that they are required to sustain a normal inflammatory response without which we would be prone to serious infection and tissue damage.”

Conversely, Dr Rainger has uncovered mechanistic evidence that supports the anti-inflammatory role of omega -3 fatty acids: “We’ve all heard about the health benefits of eating oily fish, and its beneficial effects on cardiovascular health, possibly due to their anti inflammatory properties, yet little is known about the normal cellular mechanisms by which omega –3 fatty acids produce their protective effects.”

Nutritionists believe that imbalances in omega –3 and –6 – may explain the rise of diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, cancers, autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases, all of which are believed to stem from inflammation in the body.

Paper: Fatty acids and Inflammation: novel interactions reveal a new step in neutrophil recruitment is published in PLoS Biology on 25 August.

Omega-3 Fish Oil EPA and DHA Reduce Inflammation and Loss of Cartilage Protein in Tissue Studies

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Omega-3s Reduce Inflammation and Loss of Cartilage Protein in Tissue Studies

Runaway inflammation characterizes many diseases, including heart disease, stroke and other types of brain injury, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, metabolic syndrome and others. As a result, one of the first-line therapies for several of these conditions is inflammation control. Sometimes, the medications that reduce inflammation and pain have undesirable side effects, especially when used for years. Having less damaging agents would help patient treatment and health. For that reason, the omega-3 fatty acids found mainly in fish and shellfish (omega-3s) are being actively investigated for their anti-inflammatory benefits in several diseases.

A relative new-comer to the list of maladies is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that affects the cartilage where bones glide across each other, as in the knees, hips and spine. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage deteriorates, loses its ability to cushion the joints and becomes inflamed. Not surprisingly, the disease is very painful. The suggestion that omega-3s might reduce disease symptoms and cartilage degeneration is based on the known anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3s, their effectiveness in rheumatoid arthritis (which does not affect the cartilage), and encouraging results from studies in animals with the condition and findings from cultured cells.

Here we describe a study in the U.K. that examined the effect of omega-3s in cultured cartilage tissue under conditions of tissue breakdown. When inflammatory agents were added to the tissue, a protein characteristic of cartilage breakdown was released from the tissue. When low levels of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), one of the two main omega-3s in seafood, were added to the tissue, the release of the protein fell. High concentrations of EPA had little effect on the amount of protein released.

Next the researchers added DHA and repeated the experiments. Again, low levels of DHA reduced the release of the marker protein. The investigators also showed that inflammatory substances also diminished in the presence of the omega-3s, confirming their original reasoning that these fatty acids could reduce cartilage degeneration and likely did so by reducing inflammation.

There might be other ways that omega-3s reduce the inflammation and deterioration associated with osteoarthritis, but these studies demonstrate the potential of omega-3s to reduce some of the damage and perhaps ease the pain that goes with osteoarthritis. There is some evidence from animals that adding omega-3s to the diet improves the animal’s activity. Determining whether these fatty acids are effective in animals and humans with the disease will be an importa

Rheumatoid Arthritis benefits of omega 3 fish oil

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

There has been great interest in the use of omega3 fish oil EPA and DHA which is a key anti inflammatory . There have been numerous studies sine the early 1980’s looking at the benefits in taking omega 3 fish oil both as a preventative measure as well as therapeutic treatment for the condition. There are at least 13 randomized clinical controlled studies that show clear benefits of taking fish oil – a common outcome in these studies has been a reduction in symptoms and tender joints. More importantly there was a reduction in analgesic anti inflammatory drugs used . For those people who have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis they should look to make dietary changes and decrease the amount of omega 6 they take which is pro inflammatory and increase the omega3 specifically EPA / DHA the key active ingredients

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