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Why Eating Salmon Might Be Good For You

March 25, 2005

Most Americans have listened to news stories extolling the anti-inflammatory health benefits of a diet rich in oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, and their constituent polyunsaturated fat, omega-3 fatty acids.  But left unanswered in these reports is how omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease, periodontitis, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions.  As published in the March 7 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine, NIDCR grantees and colleagues reported they have discovered that our bodies break down omega-3 fatty acids to yield important byproducts called resolvins, a newly discovered class of dietary fat.  The scientists found that the subtype resolvin E1 in particular helps to stop the migration of certain immune cells to sites of inflammation, thereby modulating the severity of the immune response and reducing the risk of serious disease.  Previously, the researchers found that aspirin also seems to prompt our bodies to produce resolvins, and, in this current study, they show that people who took low doses of aspirin and consumed dietary omega-3 fatty acids had measurable levels of resolvin E1 in their bloodstream.  The scientists say they now are trying to develop larger scale synthetic versions of resolvin E1 for future studies and possibly one day for use in people.

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This page last updated: February 26, 2014