It’s been known for a long time that supplementing with Fish Oil can be a good thing for inflammation, cholesterol and weight control. I decided to do some digging around about this basic nutrient (Omega-3 fatty acids) and what makes it so special. I stumbled upon an article talking about C-Reactive Protein and a handful of different dietary supplements.
Stick around for the entire article because I have some Omega-3 I would like to get rid of at a very reduced price.
Fish Oil is high in Omega-3 fatty acids. To be specific, it contains EPA(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA(docosahexaenoic acid), which are essential to our diet because our bodies cannot synthesize these particular fatty acids. Why are Omega-3 fatty acids so important? They are involved in several processes including the formation of nerves, and help activate the fat burning process in our livers due to their ability to stimulate the PPAR-alpha receptor. In addition to these effects, Omega-3s are an important family of fatty acids that help balance the other omega fatty acids, Omega-6 and Omega-9. The typical western diet is usually very out of balance in this regard, notably Omega-6 fatty acids tend to be off the charts, while Omega-3s don’t seem to be consumed much at all. The only really good source of these fatty acids is found in fish, and the second best source is found in Flax seed and a few other vegetarian sources.
C-Reactive protein is a marker for inflammation. In other words, when inflammation is sensed due to release of certain factors by macrophages or adip0se (fat) tissue, C-Reactive Protein is released by the liver where it binds to phosphocholine which is expressed on the surface of a dying or dead cell. So essentially what I’d like for you to take away from this is that C-Reactive Protein is not an inflammation causing substance. It is a messenger, a marker released by the body when inflammation has occurred. So in essence we want to reduce C-Reactive Protein, not because it causes inflammation, but because we want to effectively limit the inflammation that is signalling the release of C-Reactive Protein. To put it another way; If we reduce inflammation, we will know we have done so because levels of C-Reactive Protein will go down.
In a recent study evaluating quite a few different dietary supplements and their effects on inflammation (measured by levels of, you guessed it, C-Reactive Protein), we clearly have a few big winners and we also have a handful of duds. Interestingly enough, Glucosamine and Chondroitin were very effective at reducing C-Reactive Protein, and Fish oil followed shortly behind. If you read my article about Glucosamine and prevention of inflammation induced by gluten and lectins, you will see here further evidence that Glucosamine might just be a very effective supplement at reducing inflammation in general.
So Glucosamine, Chondroitin and Fish Oil were the stars here, all three having a strong impact on CRP. Methylsulfonylmethane(aka MSM), garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, and pycnogenol all failed to deliver a significant decrease in CRP. That’s not to say those particular supplements wouldn’t be useful for other purposes, it’s just that they don’t seem to shine quite like the three big guns in the war on inflammation.
Incidentally, I have a whole box of Supranatural RX Omega-3 Active that I would like to sell. I originally bought a few boxes thinking I would be tearing through it at a fast clip. It turns out that I am getting exactly what I need at some lower dosages due to the highly concentrated EPA and DHA content of this product. This truly is a very solid fish oil product that I highly recommend. Feel free to order directly from them, but if you’d like to get a hold of a deeply discounted bottle, just click on the link below to pick up 120 softgels for just 19.95 plus 7.95 for shipping.
Laboratory evidence suggests that certain specialty dietary supplements have antiinflammatory properties, though evidence in humans remains limited. Data on a nationally representative sample of 9,947 adults from the 1999-2004 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used to assess the associations between specialty supplement use and inflammation, as measured by serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) concentration. Using survey-weighted multivariate linear regression, significant reductions in hs-CRP concentrations were associated with regular use of glucosamine (17%, 95% confidence interval (CI): 7, 26), chondroitin (22%, 95% CI: 8, 33), and fish oil (16%, 95% CI: 0.3, 29). No associations were observed between hs-CRP concentration and regular use of supplements containing methylsulfonylmethane, garlic, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, or pycnogenol. These results suggest that glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are associated with reduced inflammation in humans and provide further evidence to support an inverse association between use of fish oil supplements and inflammation. It is important to further investigate the potential antiinflammatory role of these supplements, as there is a need to identify safe and effective ways to reduce inflammation and the burden of inflammation-related diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.