Omega 3 supplements have are often recommended for many conditions when inflammation is known to be a root cause. To understand why they work so well for fighting inflammation, let’s first get a quick review…
Inflammation is the main natural defense process. Your body’s defenses are revved up to combat foreign invasion. However, sometimes the mechanism is activated against our own system. The body’s immediate inflammatory response, or acute inflammation, is characterized by:
I’m sure this cascade sounds familiar. Any time you sprain an ankle, get a paper cut or catch a cold, this system is activated. This is a line of defense, which is the body’s way of dealing with an injury or infection in order to initiate the healing process.
On the other hand, when the process remains unresolved or provocation continues, we move into a phase referred to as chronic inflammation. This is the process by which experts believe certain conditions are rooted: Diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, thyroid conditions, autoimmune disease and leaky gut, among others.
One of the main inflammatory mediators is arachidonic acid (AA), which is derived from omega-6. This is considered an essential fatty acid, meaning it cannot be made by the human body and required for normal function. So to a certain extent, it’s necessary to have omega-6 for normal function. However, when AA levels get too high due to more omega-6 than omega-3, inflammation occurs.
Another essential fatty acid is alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), or omega-3; a precursor to EPA/DHA. The conversion process is limited in humans, requiring dietary intake of DHA/EPA. Furthermore, EPA/DHA synthesis is stunted when intake of omega-6/AA increases.
Furthermore, certain foods* are also known to activate the inflammatory pathway. Foods that contribute to inflammation are:
*there are other factors that can also trigger inflammation, but we’re focusing on food here today
Non steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen and Celebrex are commonly used to fight inflammation. However, they have an unwanted side effect of causing GI problems that may lead to reflux, ulcers or leaky gut, further feeding the inflammation cycle.
Your best bet of reversing and fighting inflammation is by lifestyle modification.
Dietary changes that include whole grains, lots of fresh veggies, legumes, organic fresh meat, and wild caught fish go a long way to helping reverse inflammation. Avoid pro-inflammatory foods and start supplementing with EPA/DHA.
Nordic Naturals is an exceptionally pure brand of fish, krill, algae and flax sources of EPA/DHA formulas. This formula is a balanced source of omega fatty acids to help rebalance your body’s omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The Joint Xtra Formula also has glucosamine and collagen to support the joints. Glucosamine has been shown in hundreds of trials to be an effective treatment for joint pain and arthritis. Read what I wrote about this formula in another blog here.
Nordic Naturals is one of the world’s leading producers of fish oil supplements. Nordic Naturals Omega Joint Xtra is non-toxic, shellfish-free, gluten-free, and non-GMO.