Volume 8 Issue 4

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Page 26 of 35 | # 44 | Page 27 that the omega-3 fa y acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can promote immune health by reducing cell stress responses that lead to subop mal health and enhancing the func on of immune cells. Omega-3s Help the Body Respond to Cellular Stress Short-term cell stress responses are a normal, and necessary physiological response that help, the body ini ate processes designed to restore damaged body cells and ssues a er an injury, infec on, or illness. However, if these cell stress responses (o en referred to as the body's inflammatory response) become long-term, they can damage cells and ssues, and ul mately contribute to a variety of chronic health problems. That's where omega-3s come in. Because of their ability to synthesize potent signal molecules that help lower cell stress responses, fatty acids such as EPA and DHA can help the body return to normal after a threat has passed. 9 In contrast, the potent signal molecules made from the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA) serve to help raise cell stress responses. This means that if omega-6 fa y acids are more abundant in cell membranes, then signal molecules that help promote a cell stress response will be more common. Conversely, if omega-3 fatty acids are more abundant, then signal molecules that help lower a cell stress response will be more common. Although cells need both types of fatty acids to function, research suggests that having an abundance of omega-3s is favorable for maintaining a healthy cell response and overall immune health. Given the prevalence of foods containing omega-6 fa y acids (e.g., processed snacks, vegetable oils, red meat, etc.) most people have a far higher ra o of omega-6 fa y acids than omega-3 fa y acids in their cell membranes. Fortunately, supplemen ng with dietary sources of omega- 3s (e.g., fa y fish, algae oil, or fish oil) can help balance this ra o and the body's response to cellular stress. For more informa on about omega-3s, including benefits, dietary sources, and dosage recommenda ons, refer to this ar cle: -An introduc on to Omega-3 fats, Omega-3 dosage: How much EPA and DHA should I take? Omega-3s Enhance Immune Cell Function Another important way that omega-3s promote immune health is by enhancing the func on of both innate and adap ve immune cells. 6 For example, DHA and EPA can help regulate the activities of macrophage cells, which play a cri cal role in the body's innate immune defense by patrolling for invading pathogens and working to eliminate them. Omega-3s also promote innate immune func on by increasing the number and phagocy c capacity of neutrophil cells—a process wherein the cell essen ally destroys a virus or infected cell by binding to it and engulfing it. Studies also show that EPA and DHA can enhance adap ve immune func on by promo ng the growth and specializa on of certain types of T cells and increasing the number and percentages of B cell populations in different tissues. 1. Probiotics A growing body of research suggests that probio cs— live micro- organisms that, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host—also play an important role in immune health. 18 Although it might be difficult to wrap your mind around how ingesting microorganisms (usually bacteria) can help the body fight off harmful invaders, research shows that these beneficial microbes promote immune health through the activation of multiple immune mechanisms. For example, one of the ways probio cs promote immune health is by inhibi ng the growth of pathogenic bacteria. Probiotics do this in a number of ways, including competing with pathogens for nutrients that promote growth and 2.

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