How fish oils reduce inflammation
The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in oily fish reduce inflammation, which in turn reduces the symptoms of arthritis and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Inflammation pathways also contribute to insulin resistance, a step on the path to diabetes.
Scientists have now shown how these fatty acids reduce inflammation in mice. They act specifically on a cell-receptor (GPR 120) in white blood cells to switch-off a chemical pathway that causes inflammation.
So the scientists produced a colony of mice that lacked the GPR 120 receptor. They then fed this colony and a control group of normal mice a high fat diet, either with or without a supplement of DHA and EPA fatty acids.
All the mice became obese and all mice without the fatty acid supplement became insulin insensitive. The fatty acids had no effect on the mice lacking the receptor but normal mice fed the fatty acids maintained sensitivity to insulin, clarifying the health benefits of these fatty acids in reducing inflammation.