Health Benefits of n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid

Nalin Siriwardhana, Nishan S. Kalupahana, Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

192 Scopus citations

Abstract

Marine-based fish and fish oil are the most popular and well-known sources of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These n-3 PUFAs are known to have variety of health benefits against cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) including well-established hypotriglyceridemic and anti-inflammatory effects. Also, various studies indicate promising antihypertensive, anticancer, antioxidant, antidepression, antiaging, and antiarthritis effects. Moreover, recent studies also indicate anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing effects of these fatty acids in metabolic disorders. Classically, n-3 PUFAs mediate some of these effects by antagonizing n-6 PUFA (arachidonic acid)-induced proinflammatory prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2 ) formation. Another well-known mechanism by which n-3 PUFAs impart their anti-inflammatory effects is via reduction of nuclear factor-κB activation. This transcription factor is a potent inducer of proinflammatory cytokine production, including interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, both of which are decreased by EPA and DHA. Other evidence also demonstrates that n-3 PUFAs repress lipogenesis and increase resolvins and protectin generation, ultimately leading to reduced inflammation. Finally, beneficial effects of EPA and DHA in insulin resistance include their ability to increase secretion of adiponectin, an anti-inflammatory adipokine. In summary, n-3 PUFAs have multiple health benefits mediated at least in part by their anti-inflammatory actions; thus their consumption, especially from dietary sources, should be encouraged.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Food and Nutrition Research
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Pages211-222
Number of pages12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Publication series

NameAdvances in Food and Nutrition Research
Volume65
ISSN (Print)1043-4526

Keywords

  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Eicosapentaenoic acid
  • Fish oil
  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance

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