It's no fish tale: Omega-3 fatty acids prevent medical complications of obesity

February 12, 2009

According to a recent study published online in The FASEB Journal, diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids protect the liver from damage caused by obesity and the insulin resistance it provokes. This research should give doctors and nutritionists valuable information when recommending and formulating weight-loss diets and help explain why some obese patients are more likely to suffer some complications associated with obesity. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in canola oil and fish.

"Our study shows for the first time that lipids called protectins and resolvins derived from omega-3 fatty acids can actually reduce the instance of liver complications, such as hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, in obese people," stated Joan Claria, a professor from the University of Barcelona and one of the researchers involved in the work.

The scientists found that two types of lipids in omega-3 fatty acids—protectins and resolvins—were the cause of the protective effect. To reach this conclusion, they studied four groups of mice with an altered gene making them obese and diabetic. One group was given an omega-3-enriched diet and the second group was given a control diet. The third group was given docosahexaenoic acid, and the fourth received only the lipid resolvin. After five weeks, blood serum and liver samples from the test mice were examined. The mice given the omega-3-rich diet exhibited less hepatic inflammation and improved insulin tolerance. This was due to the formation of protectins and resolvins from omega-3 fatty acids.

"Doctors are always looking for simple and easy ways to counter the harmful effects of obesity, and the great thing about this study is that the information can be used at dinner tonight," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "It's not unlikely that eating lots more fish or a simple switch to canola oil will make a difference."

More information: Ana González-Périz, Raquel Horrillo, Natàlia Ferré, Karsten Gronert, Baiyan Dong, Eva Morán-Salvador, Esther Titos, Marcos Martínez-Clemente, Marta López-Parra, Vicente Arroyo, and Joan Clària. Obesity-induced insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis are alleviated by -3 fatty acids: a role for resolvins and protectins. doi:10.1096/fj.08-125674. www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/fj.08-125674v1

On the web: www.fasebj.org

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Explore further: Omega 3 helps the gut stay healthy, study finds

Related Stories

Omega 3 helps the gut stay healthy, study finds

September 11, 2017
Taking omega-3 as part of a healthy diet with plenty of fibre and probiotic foods can improve the diversity of the gut microbiome according to a new study by researchers at the University of Nottingham and King's College ...

Cellular renewal process may underlie benefits of omega fatty acids

February 13, 2013
A search for genes that change their levels of expression in response to nutrient deprivation has uncovered potential clues to the mechanism underlying the health benefits of omega fatty acids. In the Feb. 15 issue of Genes ...

Fatty acid test: Why some harm health, but others help

September 29, 2011
A major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and other health- and life-threatening conditions, obesity is epidemic in the United States and other developed nations where it's fueled in large part by excessive ...

Scientists discover a natural molecule to treat type 2 diabetes

May 12, 2014
Researchers at the Université Laval Faculty of Medicine, the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Center, and the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods have discovered a natural molecule that could be used to treat ...

Study in rats finds maternal intake of past-its-prime fish oil linked to newborn death

July 25, 2016
Nearly 30 percent of newborn pups born to pregnant rats fed highly oxidized ("off") fish oil died within two days after birth a new study by researchers at the Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland in New Zealand ...

Insulin resistance, inflammation and a muscle-saving protein

May 1, 2012
Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic proportions around the world, fueled in large part by the equally alarming expansion of obesity as a global health problem. But while it's well-known that obesity is the most common cause ...

Recommended for you

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

Age and gut bacteria contribute to multiple sclerosis disease progression

November 17, 2017
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

November 16, 2017
A team of researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, ...

Prototype ear plug sensor could improve monitoring of vital signs

November 16, 2017
Scientists have developed a sensor that fits in the ear, with the aim of monitoring the heart, brain and lungs functions for health and fitness.

Ancient enzyme could boost power of liquid biopsies to detect and profile cancers

November 16, 2017
Scientists are developing a set of medical tests called liquid biopsies that can rapidly detect the presence of cancers, infectious diseases and other conditions from only a small blood sample. Researchers at The University ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.