Resolvins and Protectins: Did You Get Your Anti-Aging DHA Today?
March 7, 2013 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
Low-grade inflammation is the telltale sign of many diseases of aging, as well as the inappropriate acceleration of the aging process. Astounding new science explains how DHA works to resolve this and protect you from damage – thus slowing the rate of inappropriate aging and the risk for disease. Since the mechanism involved is relatively new and the information is so important, I will help explain what this means to your health.
A brief review of what is already well known will help you understand the new discoveries in their proper context. The role of essential fatty acids and inflammation as they relate to disease has been discussed for several decades. This extensive body of literature focuses on fatty acid metabolites called eicosanoids, which are 20 carbons in length (such as arachidonic acid). All cell membranes in your body have a fatty layer. This membrane needs omega-3 fatty acids (like EPA and DHA) to counterbalance the inflammatory effects of arachidonic acid (AA - a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid that is also in the cell membranes). When your cells come under a stressful situation, your cell membranes communicate to your DNA, which in turn liberates fatty acids in your cell membrane to send out inflammatory signals that are typically used to deal with the stressor that has been encountered. AA starts the inflammatory ball rolling, generating other inflammatory signals such COX2, which many pain meds try to suppress, and lipoxygenase (the pathway that produces leukotrienes that are typically involved in asthma and allergy).