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Epigenetics: Protection from Omega 3

The ability of dietary fatty acids to improve the outcomes of many conditions has been well established. In addition to the well-known interactions on the metabolism of eicosanoids, one of the most interesting areas of research on the mechanisms of action of fatty acids is epigenetics—a term that refers to the ability of diet, lifestyle, and even thoughts to change gene expression and physical outcomes. This aspect of poly-unsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) biology may open a new dietary approach to a wide spectrum of common diseases.

In a study to show that diet can affect gene expression, 111 healthy, elderly subjects who received high EPA+DHA supplements showed a decreased expression of genes involved in inflammatory and atherogenic-related pathways—such as nuclear transcription factor kappaB signaling, eicosanoid synthesis, scavenger receptor activity, adipogenesis, and hypoxia signaling.

Analysis revealed that the 1.8 grams EPA+DHA daily supplements resulted in altered gene expression of 1040 genes, while 4 grams of sunflower oil altered expression of 298 genes. The altered genes were involved in inflammatory and atherogenic-related pathways. It was noted that 900 uniquely changed genes were in the EPA+DHA group. This research shows that intake of EPA and DHA actually alters the gene expression profiles in cells to be more anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic.

The ability of essential dietary fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA from fish, to decrease disease states has become well known. The detrimental effects correlated with high ratios of arachidonic and omega-6 fatty acids are also well known, but more specific knowledge depends upon a better understanding of the mechanisms of action of these fatty acids in the body. The discovery that fatty acids can directly govern the activity of gene expression opens new perspectives on both PUFA biology and therapeutic approaches to health conditions.

Note:  the beneficial affects of Omega 3 is only achieved when supplementing with high quality oils.  True Medicine only stocks high quality, pure fishl oils – available as high potency liquid or in capsules.  Fish oils should always be stored in the refrigerator – in store and at home. 

Source:  M. Bouwens, O. van de Rest, N. Dellschaft, et al. Fish-oil supplementation induces anti-inflammatory gene expression profiles in human blood mononuclear cells. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:415–424.