Clinical Conditions

Positive Effects of DHA in Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury results in 53,000 deaths in the U.S. every year (Figure), with nearly twice that number suffering permanent disability, including diminished cognitive ability. Treatments with long-term benefits are few and of limited effectiveness.¬† Progesterone may have neurological benefits and is in a Phase III clinical trial for patients with moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Attention has also turned to the potential effects of DHA in preventing and ameliorating traumatic brain and spinal cord injury. DHA involvement in neuronal membrane structure and function, learning and memory, as well as neuroplasticity…

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Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid: Are They Different?

Trevor A Mori, Ph.D., Professor, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, Royal Perth Hospital Unit, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. Many of the cardiovascular benefits ascribed to omega-3 (n-3) fatty acids were initially attributed to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) rather than docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It was suggested that some of the effects of EPA were due to its being a competitive inhibitor of arachidonic acid for the cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes, leading to prostaglandins and leukotrienes with attenuated bioactivity compared with the respective arachidonic acid analogues. However, we now know that…

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Perinatal Omega-3 Deficiency May Condition Future Sensitivity to Food Reward and Impaired Energy Expenditure

This article at a glance Is it possible that the quality of food during gestation and around birth sets the stage for the eating behaviour of the offspring when they become adults? This study reports that in mice a perinatal deficiency in dietary omega-3 fatty acids has long-lasting effects into adulthood, enhancing the brain circuits for reward, enhancing the anxiety state and reducing spontaneous activity. The results provide experimental support for the hypothesis that dietary omega-3 LCPUFA deficiency during pregnancy increases the motivation to eat easily palatable foods that may…

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Improving the Response Rate in Migraine Headache Attacks

This article at a glance This study addressed the potential effectiveness of daily EPA/DHA for migraine headaches in adults with chronic migraine also taking low-dose amitriptyline, a drug used for migraine prevention. Participants taking both EPA/DHA and amitriptyline for 2 months reported a major reduction in the frequency of headache attacks. The results of this study warrant new studies to confirm the significant effect of the EPA/DHA intervention.   Migraine is one of the most common disorders of the central nervous system. Migraine manifests most typically as recurrent headaches that…

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Antimicrobial Defense Linked to the Hemostatic Response

This article at a glance This study reports that the coagulation of blood leads to the formation of arachidonic acid (AA)-, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)- and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-derived specialized proresolving mediators (SPMs) that promote microbial clearance. Clotting of human whole blood led to the formation of a distinct cluster of SPMs, namely lipoxin B4, resolvin E1, resolvin D1, resolvin D5, and maresin 1. The results uncover a new role of hemostasis that extends beyond the current understanding of it as a passive barrier that stems bleeding, to one that involves…

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The Effect of Macronutrient Composition on Endogenous Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Status during Weight Loss

This article at a glance The influence on tissue fatty acid composition of three different isocaloric diets ¬†containing carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, carbohydrates with a high glycemic index, or a reduced fat content, respectively, was assessed in overweight-obese adults on a 500 kcal/d-energy restriction in a randomized controlled intervention trial. The study had been designed to avoid previous limitations in addressing the effect of macronutrients on weight loss, and revealed improvements in insulin control in participants on the low-glycemic index diet. However, potential adverse effects on polyunsaturated fatty…

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The Development of Chemoresistance: A New Immune Cell-Activating Mechanism Involving Uncommon Lipids that Mediate a Stem Cell Response to Genotoxicity

This article at a glance This study identifies the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid hexadecatetraenoic acid (16:4 n-3) as a ligand of GPR120, a receptor studied for its role in regulating inflammation, energy metabolism and satiety. 16:4 n-3, previously identified as a fatty acid released by mesenchymal stem cells following the exposure to platinum-containing chemotherapeutic drugs, activated GPR120 in a specific population of macrophages in the spleen. GPR120-positive splenic macrophages activated by 16:4 n-3 produced a unique lysophospholipid, lysophosphatidylcholine with esterified nervonic acid (lysoPC(24:1)), which mediated a chemoresistance response to platinum-based…

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Evaluating the Value of Stratification on Omega-3 LCPUFA Levels when the Randomized Controlled Testing Methodology is not Sufficiently Well-Controlled

This article at a glance This pilot study evaluated the concept that stratification of study participants can be useful for improving interpretations of the relationship between long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCPUFA) intake and biological effect. In patients scheduled for coronary artery bypass graft and/or heart valve replacement surgery, one group of individuals randomly assigned to receive pre-operative fish oil supplementation displayed largely overlapping erythrocyte membrane omega-3 levels with placebo-treated patients. After stratifying the pooled patient groups by high and low omega-3 status, or their omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, statistically significant…

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Omega-3 LCPUFA Intake-Induced Molecular Changes in Type 2 Diabetes

This article at a glance The effects of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) on deranged glucose homeostasis in type 2 diabetics are incompletely understood. Metabolomic analyses of blood samples from two recent randomized controlled clinical trials in American and Chinese adults with type 2 diabetes link omega-3 LCPUFA supplementation to changes in branched-chain amino acids and to furan fatty acid metabolism.   Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disease in which people cannot adequately control blood glucose levels. Blood glucose values > 6.9 mM (fasting) and > 11 mM…

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Enhancing Breast Cancer Treatment with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Miranda Brun, PhD and Catherine J. Field, PhD RD Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada   In North America and Europe, breast cancer accounts for over 25% of all new cancer diagnoses in women, and approximately 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime (1-3). Despite ongoing advances in screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women, and one of the most expensive to treat (4). Relapse and metastasis…

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