Fish oil capsules and aspirin. (Photo: StockFile)
Fish oil and aspirin may help fight chronic diseases
Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 03:10 (GMT + 9)
The use of fish oil combined with aspirin may help fight the inflammation associated with multiple harmful chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis, according to the findings of a new breakthrough study.
The authors of this new study published in the Cell Press journal Chemistry and Biology have found that taking aspirin helps set off the production of molecules called resolvins -- naturally made by the body from omega-3 fatty acids -- in the body. These molecules turn off, or "resolve," the inflammation that forms the foundation of devastating illnesses including inflammatory lung disease, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
"In this report, we found that one resolvin, termed resolvin D3 from the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, persists longer at sites of inflammation than either resolvin D1 or resolvin D2 in the natural resolution of inflammation in mice," said senior study author Dr Charles Serhan of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. "This finding suggests that this late resolution phase resolvin D3 might display unique properties in fighting uncontrolled inflammation."
In addition, the team determined that taking aspirin triggered the production of a longer-acting form of resolvin D3 via a different pathway, PTI reports.
"Aspirin is able to modify an inflammatory enzyme to stop forming molecules that propagate inflammation and instead produce molecules from omega-3 fatty acids, like resolvin D3, that help inflammation to end," said co-author Dr Nicos Petasis of the University of Southern California. "We were able to produce by chemical synthesis both resolvin D3 and aspirin-triggered resolvin D3 in pure form, which allowed us to establish their complete structures and biological activities."
When both of these resolvins were made available to human cells, they together carried out powerful anti-inflammatory actions. Administering these compounds to mice also stimulated the resolution of inflammation.
"We also identified the human receptor that is activated by resolvin D3, which is critical in understanding how resolvin D3 works in the body to resolve inflammation," said Serhan.
Associate Professor Sue Piper, rheumatologist and president of the Australian Rheumatology Association, said what needs to be discovered is the dosage necessary to achieve these results in the body, and what doses are safe given individual persons’ sensitivities and medical histories.
"Aspirin does have a lot of side-effects for people with high blood pressure, a family history of stroke, stomach ulcers or liver and kidney problems. It's not for everybody and if you were contemplating doing this, you really should talk to your doctor about it," she said, Ninemsn reports.
By Natalia Real