By Clyde Pepper
Many ill effects of aging are caused by low-grade, chronic inflammation. These slow-burning internal fires damage tissues and underlie many cancers, vascular disorders, and dementias.
Inflammation is partially regulated through the eicosanoid pathway. Age, poor diet, and other factors tip the balance of this pathway from anti-inflammatory to pro-inflammatory. Omega-3-rich fish oil rebalances the eicosanoid pathway and safely helps reduce inflammation.
What is the Eicosanoid Pathway?
The eicosanoid pathway is a signaling pattern that regulates inflammation when needed.
The eicosanoid pathway helps turn on inflammation when it’s needed and turn it off once it has done its job. This is accomplished through signaling molecules called eicosanoids.
There are two types of these signaling molecules—one that is pro-inflammatory, and one that is anti-inflammatory.
The pro-inflammatory signaling molecules are produced from omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, whereas the anti-inflammatory molecules are mostly produced from omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.1-5
Omega-3 also produces three additional classes of signaling molecules—called resolvins, protectins, and maresins. These go beyond suppressing inflammation by also promoting healing and actively protecting against cellular damage.3-8
The ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is a major factor in determining whether the eicosanoid pathway will produce predominantly pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory signals.
Our typical Western diet contains far more omega-6 than omega-3 fats—an imbalance that pushes our eicosanoid pathway towards pro-inflammatory signaling, resulting in chronic inflammation.2
Fish oil improves the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 thus reducing the incidence of age-associated inflammatory disorders—including cardiovascular, autoimmune, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Inflammation-driven disease takes us down the road to premature disability and death. Reversing that inflammation with EPA– and DHA-rich fish oil represents a means of slowing certain aging processes.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Fish Oil Reduces Chronic Inflammation
- Inflammation triggers a cascade of destructive changes in cell and tissue function that leave us vulnerable to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and even losses of bone and joint integrity.
- New studies show that we can control the balance of the eicosanoid pathway, tipping it back towards a low-inflammation, pro-resolution state, by supplementing with fish oil rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA.
- Human studies now demonstrate the usefulness of fish oil supplements rich in EPA and DHA in mitigating the impact of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative conditions, and skeletal health.
- Fish oil can be considered a fundamental anti-aging supplement because of its potent regulation of the eicosanoid pathway.