To reduce inflammation we need to produce more type 3 prostaglandins which are derived from omega 3. The most common omega-3 fatty acids are (alpha-linolenic acid) present in large quantities in flaxseed oil, and DHA (docohexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) present in fish especially blue and salmon
DHA and EPA are synthesized from phytoplankton which is then consumed by fish, molluscs and crustaceans. If type 2 prostaglandins prevail due to a wrong diet, more saturated fat and more omega 6, we will have a predisposition towards chronic inflammatory diseases. The original Mediterranean-type diet was certainly richer in omega-3 than that of industrialized civilizations.
There is evidence that these fatty acids cannot be replaced with one another in the various metabolic functions. LNA (linolenic acid) is less effective than EPA and DHA in enriching cell membranes with Omega-3 and therefore plant sources of Omega-3 are less biologically active than fish and other foods enriched with DHA and EPA.
There is also a specific intent on the part of the food industries to remove omega-3 fatty acids from foods to protect them from spoilage and extend shelf life.
In fact, foods that contain omega-3s become more easily perishable as polyunsaturated fatty acids attract oxygen and become more easily oxidized or rancid.
The problem is also that during these food processing processes the oils are refined bringing them to very high temperatures; these processes lead to structural modifications of the fatty acids which from the CIS form, the only one present in nature, pass to the trans form, very harmful to us.
An interesting study to verify the effect of omega-3s on health was the observation on the Eskimos of Greenland. Despite having a very high fat diet, they had a very low incidence of cardiovascular disease. Comparing the blood lipid profile of the Eskimos with the Danes (who consume a diet considered “normal”) it turned out that in the Eskimos the levels of total cholesterol and LDL (the proteins that carry bad cholesterol) were much lower and more high levels of HDL (which carry good cholesterol).
Since the diet of the Eskimos is rich above all in fish and meat of seals or polar bears (which feed on fish have in turn a fat very rich in omega-3), it was concluded that DHA (docosahexaenoic) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic ) were responsible for these results. In fact, subsequent observations showed that the beneficial effects in the cardiovascular system exerted by omega-3s as well as lowering the levels of total cholesterol and LDL were exerted by increasing the formation of eicosaenoids and consequently of prostaglandins in a beneficial way, reducing blood viscosity .
It is not difficult to understand the importance of omega-3s in the functioning of the central nervous system if we realize that at least 30% of the human brain is made up of DHA.
Breast milk is a very rich source of DHA, and studies done in formula-fed babies that did not include DHA (like all formula milk), showed that these babies could have a double increased risk of contracting neurological dysfunction later in the day. years. There is experimental evidence that omega-3s can have a positive influence on insulin resistance and therefore exercise a sort of prevention against the onset of diabetes. In addition to this omega 3 protect against retinal degeneration, the cause of retinal cell degeneration is due to the fact that DHA is the most represented polyunsaturated fatty acid in these cells, but in the presence of high levels of glucose in the blood, our body is unable to produce DHA starting from ALA (Alpha-Linolenic Acid) and it is therefore necessary to make it directly as a supplement or with a diet rich in fish.
Among the biological effects of omega-3, we find an increase in clotting time, a reduced platelet adhesiveness, a lowering of cholesterol and triglyceride levels, an improved membrane fluidity especially of red blood cells, with consequent improvement of oxygen transport to peripheral tissues and an orientation towards the production of anti-inflammatory and vasodilator prostaglandins.
Therefore seems clear that polyunsaturated fatty acids and especially omega-3s play an important role in the health of the individual. Do not forget to take them with your diet or supplement. At least 20-30% of the total fat in the diet should come from polyunsaturated.