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A Potential Mechanism for the Benefit of Fish Oil
by admin on: November 25th, 2011

A study published in September 2010 in the scientific journal Cell provides more information on how fish oil can help reduce the risk of getting diabetes. The researchers involved in this study fed obese mice omega-3 fatty acids (Fish Oil contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids) and noted that these mice had a reduction in inflammation. A reduction in inflammation is important as previous research has indicated that chronic inflammation plays an important role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance, which is often considered a precursor to diabetes.

These researchers focused on the fat tissue in the mice fed omega-3 fatty acids and determined that the omega-3 fatty acids acted on a particular G-protein coupled receptor ??? the GPR120. Activating the GPR120 receptors resulted in broad anti-inflammatory effects. More specifically, the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) acted on GPR120 receptors located on the surface of macrophages. Acting on these particular GPR120 receptors is important because macrophages contained in fat tissue can produce cytokines and other proteins that can result in inflammation.

Another important finding was that a diet containing omega-3 fatty acids improved insulin sensitivity, which resulted in a significant drop in blood glucose levels. While these findings, when taken together, further elucidate the potential mechanisms involved in the etiology of diabetes, there is reason to believe that these results may cross over and prove beneficial to other diseases where inflammation plays a role as well. For example, there has been a long standing association between inflammation and cancer. As reviewed in another article (Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine; December 2006), chronic inflammation coupled with infection may lead to conditions that may promote the formation of tumors.

Therefore, though more research is clearly needed, it is safe to say that there is high hopes for the future applications of fish oil and the omega-3 fatty acid.

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