Fatty acids (FA) function as energy sources, as cell membrane components, and as mediators of cell signalling. Since cell membrane composition is partially dependent on the FA species taken through the diet [93], dietary lipids have an important influence on cell function. Among the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), the most important dietary sources are the n-3 PUFAs.

The n-3 PUFA eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found in fish oils, suppress the production of arachidonic-acid-derived eicosanoids and EPA is a substrate for the synthesis of an alternative family of eicosanoids. Thus, dietary fats that are rich in n-3 PUFAs have the potential to alter cytokine production. Several human studies have shown that supplementation of the diet of healthy volunteers results in reduced ex vivo production of IL-1, IL-6, TNF-a and IL-2 by peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Similar results have been found in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Animal studies indicate that dietary fish oil reduces the response to endotoxin and to proinflammatory cytokines, resulting in increased survival: such diets have been beneficial in some models of bacterial challenge, chronic inflammation and auto-immunity. These beneficial effects of dietary n-3 PUFAs may be useful as a therapy for acute and chronic inflammation and for disorders that involve an inappropriately activated immune response [94].

In a randomised controlled study, Gogos et al. [95] investigated the effect of dietary omega-3 PUFA plus vitamin E on the immune status and survival of well-nourished and malnourished patients with generalised malignancy. Sixty patients with generalised solid tumours were randomised to receive dietary supplementation with either fish oil (18 g of omega-3 PUFA) or placebo daily until death. Each group included 15 well-nourished and 15 malnourished patients. They found that omega-3 PUFA had a considerable immunomodulating effect by increasing the ratio of T-helper cells to T-suppressor cells in the subgroup of malnourished patients. There were no significant differences in cytokine production among the groups, except for a decrease in TNF-a production in malnourished cancer patients, which was restored by omega-3 fatty acids. The mean survival was significantly higher for the subgroup of well-nourished patients in both groups, whereas omega-3 fatty acids prolonged the survival of all the patients [95].

Arthritis Relief Now

Arthritis Relief Now

When you hear the word arthritis, images of painful hands and joints comes into play. Few people fully understand arthritis and this guide is dedicated to anyone suffering with this chronic condition and wants relief now.

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