The research team found that not only did DHA have stronger anti-inflammatory effects than EPA, but that the fatty acid also reduced levels of an anti-inflammatory protein, while EPA did not.

In the journal Atherosclerosis, the team also found that EPA improved the balance between pro and anti-inflammatory proteins.

“There is always a balance in our body between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory proteins, and we have found that EPA improves this balance better than DHA,” explains first study author Jisun So.

“For the prevention of cardiovascular disease, previous research has shown that balance is very important.” .

Growing evidence suggests that the role of EPA and DHA in reducing inflammation is particularly relevant for conditions like obesity.

It is believed that EPA and DHA serve as the precursor molecules from which the anti-inflammatory compounds like Resolvine, Protectine, and Maresine are made.

A VerificationShowed that EPA and DHA supplementation significantly reduced several inflammatory molecules such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), C-reactive protein (CRP, and interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Further researchThe high-dose omega-3 supplementation published in 2018 (1.5 g per day (g / day) EPA and 1.0 g / day DHA) is sufficient to lower plasma levels of IL-6 and IL-1ß.

Study details .

Researchers at Tufts University began a 34-week study that enrolled 9 men and 12 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 75 who were diagnosed with chronic inflammation.

In a double-blind trial, the 21 subjects were given EPA or DHA supplements that included supplement-free periods to create a blank board that could be used to measure the effects of each supplement.

During the 4-week introductory phase, subjects took supplements that contained only high-oil sunflower oil that was similar to olive oil but did not contain omega-3 fatty acids to provide a basis for comparison.

Along with the results identifying the stronger anti-inflammatory effects of DHA and the reduction in anti-inflammatory protein levels, the team also found that DHA lowered the genetic expression of four types of pro-inflammatory proteins, while EPA lowered only one type.

Further results showed that DHA decreased white blood cell secretion of three types of pro-inflammatory proteins, while EPA decreased only one type.

EPA had its own advantages, namely the fatty acid by-products associated with regulating immune function by a mechanism of action different from that of DHA-derived by-products.

“The jury was arguing, so to speak, about how the two main components of fish oil work – and whether one could be better than the other,” commented Stefania Lamon-Fava, a scientist on the cardiovascular nutrition team at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on aging at Tufts University (HNRCA).

“These results suggest that DHA is the stronger of the two markers of inflammation in the body, but that’s not the end of the story.” .

EFSA advice.

electricity Regulatory advice from EFSAConcluded that adding 5 g / day of EPA and DHA together, up to 1.8 g / day of EPA alone and 1 g / day of DHA alone, did not raise safety concerns for adults.

The conclusion was the result of a review of possible adverse health effects caused by the excessive intake required by the European Commission.

EFSA said that the actual intake of EPA and DHA from foods and dietary supplements in Europe was generally below these levels.

“EPA and DHA had different effects on the inflammatory response of monocytes with a broader effect of DHA in attenuating pro-inflammatory cytokines,” the study concludes.

“These different effects may have been mediated by different groups of PUFA derivatives, suggesting immunomodulatory activities of SPM and their intermediates.”

“Our study gives us an overview of how EPA and DHA can reduce chronic inflammation and how they have different effects,” adds Lamon-Fava.

Our results provide insight for future research to find out why this is the case and who would benefit from either or both of these healthy fats. “.

Source: Atherosclerosis

Published online:

“EPA and DHA modulate the inflammatory response of monocytes differently in patients with chronic inflammation, in part via plasma-specialized pro-dissolving lipid mediators: A randomized, double-blind crossover study.”

Authors: Jisun So et al.


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