Most of us are aware that we need essential fatty acids in our diet. They play an imperative role in our genetic expression, our longevity, our pain reduction and the functioning of our immune system. In essence, you live longer and have a better quality of life when you are getting the right amounts of essential fatty acids.
The latest research is showing that our body is using these essential fatty acids to resolve inflammatory stress and bring homeostasis back to the body. Our bodies have a built-in method of doing this, and that method is dependent upon having adequate essential fatty acids in our system. This is how your body resolves inflammation so you do not age any faster than you have to and can prevent the inflammatory diseases that commonly occur during aging (cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, etc). This new field of research sprung up because fatty acids like EPA and DHA were shown to make specific molecules that actually resolve inflammation and return your body to a state of healthy balance.
This research shows that once your body starts an inflammatory process, it also starts an anti-inflammatory process that will eventually curtail the inflammation as well as clean up the “debris of the battle”. The cleaner and more rejuvenated you keep yourself the longer and healthier you will live. Conversely, the more inflamed you remain, the more your quality of life is at risk. Scientists call these new fatty acid-containing proteins “specialized pro-resolving mediators” or SPM, for short. They include molecules such as: resolvins, docosatrienes, & protectins.
The suppression and resolution of inflammation, but especially pain is an active process in the body. And this ongoing active process is supported by the presence of two newly-discovered protectins. They are both dependent upon the dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids because protectins come from the fatty acid DHA. Protectins were first classified as important nerve protectors, since they protect both your brain and eyesight. (FYI..It has been demonstrated that protectins are lacking in cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s). Protectins are made by your brain cells and nerve cells, but they were also discovered to be made by some immune cells and the cells that line your body cavities and blood vessels.
Resolvins are compounds that help your body resolve inflammation. Some resolvins come from EPA and others come from DHA. Resolvins help your body resolve inflammation and they are important in managing the perception of pain. Resolvins are also highly interactive with the immune system surrounding the mucosal membranes in your airways. Deficiencies in them are associated with faulty immune responses as well as allergies and asthma. All resolvins are highly specific in their actions toward resolving inflammation, including the cleanup of general wear and tear as well as your immune system’s battle against bugs. Docosatrienes, on the other hand, come from completely from DHA and shed new light on managing inflammation.
All of these molecules are boosted by omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Their production is a system wide process in your body, vital to recovery from anything, and to maintain a state of healthy natural balance. If you lack omega-3 fatty acids you cannot possibly make them at an optimal rate. These anti-inflammatory DHA metabolites are highly active in tissues all over your body.
Molecules such as resolvins and protectins are part of the new frontier of nutrition science in the war against common diseases in America today. The anti-inflammatory properties of resolvins and protectins are stunning. Even more stunning is their documented method of operation, which for the first time explains the recovery from stress and inflammation.