The study examined the influence of different concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – an omega-3 fatty oil – on lung and kidney lesions caused by the autoimmune condition lupus. The results showed that up to 96% of these lung lesions were stopped with DHA.
The results have significant physiological relevance to how and what type of fish oils should be included in a typical Western diet.
“Because the DHA-rich microalgae oil is made in a controlled environment, it does not contain any environmental pollutants,” said Dr. James Pestka, distinguished professor at Michigan State University and lead author of the study.
“Still, fish-derived omega-3s may be similarly contaminant free when sourced from a reputable manufacturer / supplier.”
Additionally, the emphasis on omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) in the Western diet means that more and more people are following diets that are lacking in omega-3 PUFA.
“We rely heavily on vegetable oils, which mainly contain omega-6 fatty acids,” explained Pestka. “We cannot synthesize omega-3 fatty acids. So we need to eat more fish containing omega-3s or take omega-3 supplements. “.
Create a happy bond.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which PUFA may prove beneficial. © iStock
The preclinical study examined the effect of DHA on lupus lesions in the lungs and kidneys of female mice that were already genetically predisposed to the disease.
The mice were then fed diets containing 0.0, 0.4, 1.2, or 2.4% DHA. Two weeks after the start of feeding, the mice were then exposed to 1 mg of crystalline silica (cSiO2) once a week for four weeks and kept on the test diet for a further 12 weeks.
cSiO2, also known as quartz, is a well-known trigger of the autoimmune reaction in the lungs and kidneys.
The mice were then examined for markers of inflammation and autoimmunity in the lungs, blood and kidneys.
The results showed that certain antibodies (CD45R +) in the lungs were reduced in number by 80, 98 and 96%, respectively, by DHA consumption (0.4, 1.2, 2.4%).
DHA supplementation at the same concentrations reduced the number of other immune cells (CD3 +) in the lungs by 41, 79 and 83%, respectively.
The study’s author, Jack Harkema, believes the DHA may modify the way healthy cells, also known as macrophages, respond to the silica in the lungs and could even alter the immune system’s response.
Commenting on the results, Harkema said, “96% of lung lesions were stopped with DHA after they were triggered by the silica. I’ve never seen such a dramatic protective reaction in the lungs before.”
Chronic Disease Therapy?.
The EFSA identifies a 250 mg EPA + DHA intake per day for the general adult population with a maximum tolerated dose of 5 g per day. © iStock
A number of studies have shown that supplementing with omega-3 PUFA can suppress and even reverse inflammation caused by immune cells.
These dietary lipids have proven to be viable candidates for that Prevention / treatmentFrom chronic inflammatory diseases.
“While it should be emphasized that our study was conducted in the mouse, a ‘preclinical’ model, we believe our research will provide new insight into how omega-3s can block environmental triggering of other autoimmune or inflammatory diseases,” said Pestka.
“For example, occupational exposure to silica has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Omega-3 fatty acid consumption has been shown to benefit individuals with RA. “
Current recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) provide for a daily intake of 250 mg EPA + DHA for the general adult population with a maximum tolerated dose of 5 g per day.
When extrapolating, a person who eats 2000 kcal / day (8.368 MJ / day) would need 2, 6 and 12 g / day to correlate with the amounts consumed in this study.
“Future perspectives of this model should therefore focus on the effects of consuming 5 g / d DHA or less human equivalents (i.e. less than 2.4% of total energy intake) and the effects of DHA consumption in lupus prone mice in early life take into account long-term susceptibility to AD triggers in the environment, ”concluded the study.
Source: PLOS One
Published online before printing, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0160622.
“Silica-induced autoimmunity in lupus-prone mice blocked by the consumption of docosahexaenoic acid.”
Authors: James J. Pestka et al