A molecular mechanism that makes omega-3 fatty acids so effective in reducing chronic inflammation and insulin resistance may lead to a simple dietary remedy for the more than 23 million Americans suffering from diabetes and other conditions.
Jerold Olefsky, M.D., and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine recently identified key receptors on white blood cells, or macrophages, which are found in obese body fat.
Obesity and diabetes are closely associated. The scientists say omega-3 fatty acids activate this cell macrophage receptor, resulting in anti-inflammatory effects and improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is the condition in which the hormone insulin becomes less effective at regulating blood sugar levels in the body, leading to type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
These cell macrophages digest cellular debris and pathogens as an immune system response. Part of this response involves the macrophages producing proteins that cause inflammation, a method for destroying harmful cells and objects.
Obese fat tissue contains lots of these macrophages producing lots of protein, which can result in chronic inflammation and rising insulin resistance. Fish oils, or omega-3 fatty acids, interact with receptors located on macrophages, generating a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
“It’s just an incredibly potent effect,” says Olefsky. “The omega-3 fatty acids kill the inflammatory response. This is nature at work. The receptor responds to a natural product—omega-3 fatty acids—so that the inflammatory process can be controlled.”
Fish oils safely do this and suggest a possible way to treat the problems of inflammation in obesity and in conditions like diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease through simple dietary supplementation.
In addition to fish oil supplementation, healthy dietary choices for diabetes management include:
• Fiber-rich foods—legumes, whole wheat flour, wheat bran.
• Healthy carbohydrates—low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables.
• Reduced amounts of food products containing saturated and trans fats.
• Limited intake of meats, eggs and other high cholesterol foods.
Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and massage therapy for a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.