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Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Omega 3 Fatty Acid In Fish Oil Linked To Lowering Of Prostaglandin

Date:
April 4, 2006
Source:
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Summary:
A biochemist reports that fish oil significantly diminishes the production and effectiveness of various prostaglandins, naturally occurring hormone-like substances that can accentuate inflammation and thrombosis.

Omega 3 fatty acids in dietary fish oil are reported to have anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombogenic and anti-arrhythmic effects in humans, but the biochemical basis for these beneficial health effects is not well understood. Now a University of Michigan biochemist reports that fish oil significantly diminishes the production and effectiveness of various prostaglandins, naturally occurring hormone-like substances that can accentuate inflammation and thrombosis.

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Dr. William L. Smith described his findings on April 4 at Experimental Biology 2006 in San Francisco. His presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

Dietary fish oil causes its prostaglandin-lowering effects through three different mechanisms, says Dr. Smith.

First, the much fewer prostaglandins are made from omega 3 fatty acids as compared to the other class of fatty acids in the body, the omega 6 family of fatty acids that originate in the diet from leafy vegetables and other plant sources.

Second, the omega 3 fatty acids compete with omega 6 fatty acids for the same binding site on the COX 1 enzyme that converts the omega 6 fatty acids to prostaglandin (which is why the COX 1 enzyme and its COX 2 cousin are the targets of anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen). The more omega 3 fatty acids present to block the binding sites, the fewer omega 6 fatty acids are able to be converted to prostaglandin.

Third, although omega 3 fatty acids also are converted to prostaglandins, the prostaglandins formed from omega 3 are generally 2 to 50 times less active than those formed from the omega 6 fatty acids from dietary plants.

The biochemical basis of other benefits of dietary fish oil -- for example, omega 3 fatty acids' impact on neuronal development and visual acuity -- are probably due to effects on biochemical pathways regulating nerve transmission. Understanding the different pathways through which omega 3 works to convert prostaglandin helps explain why the plant-based omega 6 fatty acids don't simply provide the same benefits. Because of omega 3 fatty acids' known benefits to health, especially cardiovascular health, Dr. Smith's advice is simple: eat more fish.



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The above story is based on materials provided by Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Omega 3 Fatty Acid In Fish Oil Linked To Lowering Of Prostaglandin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 April 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404085719.htm>.
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. (2006, April 4). Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Omega 3 Fatty Acid In Fish Oil Linked To Lowering Of Prostaglandin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404085719.htm
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Anti-inflammatory Effects Of Omega 3 Fatty Acid In Fish Oil Linked To Lowering Of Prostaglandin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060404085719.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

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