3

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Bring out the science! In what way are omega-3/-6 fats inflammatory/anti-inflammatory

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 22, 2012 at 3:11 AM

I have read over and over that balancing out the omega fats ratio helps with inflammatory foods.

Is there anyone with an understanding of biochemistry who can explain (go deep science jargon if you must) what is it in omega-3 fats that are anti-inflammatory in the human body and omega-6 fats pro-inflammatory? What is it about them that makes a human body see them and fire up such responses?

Don't be afraid of being over my head, you might be but it will give me something ask about to learn more.

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on October 24, 2012
at 01:59 AM

Finally got a chance to read this. Thanks!

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on October 23, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Good stuff. What to prostaglandins do in us that makes a body's temp increase, or pain sensation rise? Are they triggering a hormonal response? Are prostaglandins the only inflammatory aspect of n-6 fats?

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on October 23, 2012
at 04:31 AM

agreed Jamie, as an example GLA & DGLA (both n-6 pufas) are purported to have anti-inflammatory properties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Linolenic_acid & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihomo-gamma-linolenic_acid & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acid_interactions#The_paradox_of_dietary_GLA

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb

(4493)

on October 23, 2012
at 04:25 AM

agreed Jamie, as an example GLA & DGLA (both n-6 pufas) are purported to have anti-inflammatory properties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Linolenic_acid & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dihomo-gamma-linolenic_acid

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:08 AM

Its worth noting, that isnt all these molecules do (there are some pro and anti on each side). For further example, omega-6's like LA, and AA, are used to produce endocannabinoids, for use in the brain, and in the body. An end product endocannibinoids is the primary anti-inflammatory in the skin tissue, and endocannibinoids have a variety of other functions (exercise, pregnancy, pain reactions, noxiticity). So it is at its heart rather complex. But overall, you dont want too much of either, like almost everything theres a sweet spot, a u curve.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:03 AM

Well, at its heart is rather simple. omega-3, and omega-6's both have "cascades" of chemicals they are changed into. The o-3's products are primarily used in reducing bodily inflammation, the o-6's are primarily used in producing inflammation. Heres a wiki page with a picture about half way through showing the metabolisms: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_fatty_acid_interactions

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3 Answers

2
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on October 23, 2012
at 03:06 AM

If you look at figure 2 here, you'll see that each side (o-3s and 6s) share enzymes that allow the fatty acids to be elongated into the usable EPA/DHA, etc. So that's a reason to keep them in balance, so one side doesn't win the tug of war, so to speak.

Prostaglandins are derived from arachidonic acid (an omega 6), and some of them cause a rise in body temp, inflammation, and pain. The anti-inflammatory and antipyretic (fever-reducing) activity of asprin work by inhibiting prostaglandin COX-2.

There are two pathways from arachidonic acid, cyclic and linear. Linear produces leukotrienes for normal immune responses, while the cyclic pathway results in the formation of thromboxanes and prostaglandins. These also function as a part of clotting and anti-clotting roles.

Lots of info here, trying to keep it brief while still address your request to learn more jargon.

A good book on all this stuff is 'Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism; by Gropper, Smith, and Groff

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on October 23, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Good stuff. What to prostaglandins do in us that makes a body's temp increase, or pain sensation rise? Are they triggering a hormonal response? Are prostaglandins the only inflammatory aspect of n-6 fats?

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 22, 2012
at 04:09 AM

What great timing! I just read this today http://www.lucastafur.com/

D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on October 24, 2012
at 01:59 AM

Finally got a chance to read this. Thanks!

0
Medium avatar

on April 16, 2014
at 04:44 PM

Maybe the question should rather be if omega-6 and PUFAs increase inflammation at all? (I know I can get a price on my head for mentioning such a thing in this forum ;)

Many (I would guess ALL big names) paleoists claim that PUFAs increase inflammation and cause fatty liver. Here is proof that that is not always, if ever, the case.

A Swedish trial from 2012: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22492369

Note that subjects were overweight but I don't see why that will nollify the findings of the study.

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