Omega-3 Reduces Inflammation in the Obese

Omega-3’s Anti-inflammatory Potential Demonstrated in Overweight People

Supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids reduces the level of a key inflammatory marker by 10%, according to a new study. The study in question is unique in that it claims to be the first to show omega-3 supplementation may alter inflammatory markers in overweight but otherwise healthy people. Adiposity is known to increase inflammation.

Four months of supplementation with 2.5 grams or 1.25 grams of omega-3s led to decreases in levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) of 10 and 12%, respectively, compared with a 36% increase in the placebo group. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body’s biochemistry facilitates over expression of inflammatory mediators, and it has been linked to a range of conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease,type-2 diabetes, and arthritis. Therefore, excess inflammation contributes to the initiation and progression of most chronic disease.

“The new data suggest that n-3 PUFAs can reduce inflammation in overweight, sedentary older adults, and thus could have broad health benefits,” wrote researchers from Ohio State University in Brain, Behavior and Immunity. “Although the n-3 PUFAs cannot take the place of good health behaviors like exercise, individuals who are at risk because of established inflammatory diseases or conditions may profit from their use. “These data provide a window into the ways in which the n-3 PUFAs may impact disease initiation, progression, and resolution.”

The daily doses of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) were 868.75 milligrams and 145mg, respectively, in the low-dose group, and 2085 mg and 348 mg, respectively, in the high-dose group. “We chose the 7:1 EPA/DHA balance because of evidence that EPA has relatively stronger anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects than DHA,” explained Kiecolt-Glaser and her co-workers.

After four months of supplementation, results indicated significant reductions in IL-6 levels, compared with placebo. Levels of the cytokine tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) also decreased by 0.2% and 2.3% in the low- and high-dose groups, respectively. The placebo group’s TNF-alpha increased by an average of 12%.

“Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation in healthy middle-aged and older adults: A randomized controlled trial” Authors: J.K. Kiecolt-Glaser, M.A. Belury, R. Andridge, W.B. Malarkey, B. Seuk Hwang, R. Glaser

Weekly Abstracts

Daily Omega-3 Supplementation May Decrease Inflammatory Marker in Dialysis Patients

RENAL DISEASE – C-Reactive Protein, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Omega-3 Fatty Acids

“Effect of treatment with Omega-3 fatty acids on C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factor-alfa in hemodialysis patient,” Tayyebi-Khosroshahi H, Houshyar J, et al, Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl, 2012 May; 23(3):500-6. (Address: Hamid Tayyebi-Khosroshahi, Department of Internal Medicine, Imam Reza Hospital, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran).

A clinical trial involving 37 patients with end-stage renal disease undergoing dialysis found that 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day reduced serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) in the dialysis population. Patients received 3 g omega-3 fatty acids per day for 2 months. Hemoglobin, albumin, ferritin, triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, TNF-a and high specific-CRP (hs-CRP) were measured at baseline and post-treatment. TNF-a levels were decreased with omega-3 supplementation, while iron and cholesterol levels were not affected. Results suggest that 3 g of omega-3 fatty acids per day may be effective in lowering serum levels of TNF-a in the dialysis population.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Improve Quality of Life for Patients Undergoing Treatment for Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

LUNG CANCER – Omega-3 Fatty Acids

“Oral nutritional supplements containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids affect quality of life and functional status in lung cancer patients during multimodality treatment: an RCT,” van der Meij BS, Langius JA, et al, Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012 Mar; 66(3):399-404. (Address: PAM van Leeuwen, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Internal Medicine, VU University Medical Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. E-mail: ).

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) improved quality of life (QOL), performance status and physical activity in a double-blind experiment involving patients (n=40) with stage III non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) undergoing multimodality treatment. Subjects received either 2 cans/day of a protein- and energy-dense oral nutritional supplement containing PUFA (2.02 g eicosapentaenoic acid+0.92 g docosahexaenoic acid/day) or an isocaloric control supplement. The intervention group reported higher quality of life parameters, physical and cognitive function, global health status and social function than the control group after 5 weeks and a higher Karnofsky Performance Status after 3 weeks. The intervention group exhibited higher physical activity than the control group after 3 and 5 weeks. Patients with NSCLC, undergoing multimodality treatment, may experience improved QOL and higher physical and cognitive function with PUFA supplementation.

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