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Omega-3s Reduce Obesity-Related Inflammation

4/18/2017 4:29:40 PM
Obesity is associated with a state of chronic and low-grade inflammation, which likely contributes to the associated risks for insulin-resistance, diabetes, hypertension, and atherosclerosis. The inflammation of obesity is mediated, in part, by cytokines and chemokines produced by adipocytes themselves, but the mechanisms are complex. A 2016 study published by Polus, et al. explored the effects of omega-3 supplementation on circulating inflammatory proteins, pro-resolving mediators, and genetic expression in women with obesity.
 
In this randomized controlled trial, 76 women with obesity were randomized to take omega-3 capsules or placebo for 3 months. Omega-3 capsules provided a daily dosage of 1.8g total DHA+EPA with an approximate DHA:EPA ratio of 5:1 in triglyceride form (EPAX 1050 TG; EPAX AS, Aelesund, Norway). Biomarkers were measured in the blood, and genetic expression was measured by microarray analysis of the whole blood transcriptome.
 
After 3 months, women supplemented with omega-3s had significantly higher plasma and erythrocyte levels of DHA and EPA when compared to baseline and when compared with placebo. Women in the intervention group experienced a 17.5% decrease in plasma triglycerides (p<.002) and a significant decrease in fasting insulin but no change in fasting glucose.
 
Omega-3 supplementation produced significant decreases in several inflammatory markers, including a 20% decrease in hsCRP, a 7% decrease in MCP-1, an 8% decrease in SELE, and a 4% decrease in sVCAM-1. No significant change was observed in plasma IL-6 concentrations.
 
Omega-3 supplementation produced significant increases in DHA-derived pro-resolving mediators of inflammation, including a 58% increase in RvD1, a 62% increase in RvD2, and a 51% increase in PDX.
 
Finally, omega-3 supplementation upregulated expression of genes for PPARα targets, genes associated with mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation and the mitochondrial electron transport chain, genes for antioxidant enzymes, and genes of the NF-κB family. Supplementation also mediated some genes involved in eicosanoid metabolism, upregulating ALOX5 and downregulating PTGDS.
 
Taken together, these results show that in obese women, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation may reduce obesity-related low grade inflammation through an increase in DHA-derived pro-resolving mediators and a decrease in pro-inflammatory gene expression.
 
Reference: Polus A, Zapala B, Razny U, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation influences the whole blood transcriptome in women with obesity, associated with pro-resolving lipid mediator production. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016;1861(11):1746-1755