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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Inflammation

Eating a higher amount of omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation in overweight, middle-aged people who have sedentary lifestyles, a study reports.
Previous research has linked omega-3 fatty acids to lower levels of inflammation and depression. In a new study, scientists set out to explore this further by recruiting 138 healthy adults who were 51 years old on average and were overweight and sedentary. The team randomly assigned participants to either a low or high dose of omega-3 fatty acids or a placebo capsule for four months. They measured depressive symptoms and levels of a compound called interleukin-6, which is a marker of inflammation.

Significant changes in depressive symptoms were lacking. However, interleukin-6 levels decreased by 10 percent and 12 percent in the low and high dose groups, respectively, compared to a 36 percent increase in the subjects who received a placebo.

The researchers concluded that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation might help reduce inflammation in overweight adults. More evidence is needed to confirm these findings.
For healthy adults with no history of heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week. In particular, fatty fish are recommended, such as anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, pompano, salmon, striped sea bass, tuna (albacore), and whitefish. It is also recommended consuming plant-derived sources of alpha-linolenic acid, such as tofu, soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. The World Health Organization and governmental health agencies of several countries recommend consuming 0.3-0.5 grams of EPA plus DHA and 0.8-1.1 grams of alpha-linolenic acid daily. A doctor and pharmacist should be consulted for dosing for other conditions.

Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Belury MA, Andridge R, et al. Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation in healthy middle-aged and older adults: A randomized controlled trial. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Aug;26(6):988-95. Epub 2012 May 26.

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