We know that omega-3 fatty acids are great for your immunity and researches have now pinpointed a way to use it as a means to prevent lupus, an inflammatory autoimmune disease.
Despite their wide prevalence, not much is known about autoimmune diseases, and their origins are a relative mystery for doctors. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from some or the other autoimmune disorders, where your immune system attacks healthy tissue by mistake. For now, various factors such as imbalances in microbiota, genetic factors, environmental factors – exposure to the toxic elements or chemicals – and viral infections have been pointed out as the source of autoimmune diseases.
In case of lupus, researchers at Michigan State University found that consuming a particular omega-3 fatty acid
called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) could stop the trigger of the disease, and potentially other autoimmune disorders, which usually cascade from lupus. “I’ve never seen such a dramatic protective response in the lung before,” said Jack Harkema, one of the study’s authors, in PLOS ONE.
Omega-3 fatty acids are famously found in walnuts and salmon (pictured above), but are also seen in canola oil for vegetarians. This is why fish oil supplements are often prescribed for younger patients to make up for the lack of omega-3 fatty acids. Researchers used DHA on lesions in the lungs and kidneys of female mice, which were genetically predisposed to the disease through silica exposure. An overwhelming 96% of these lesions were stopped by DHA.
DHA, it is suggested, helps send out an anti-inflammatory signal, thus modifying the immune system’s response – which in case of lupus would be to attack the healthy cells. Another theory says DHA helps cells absorb and remove silica without dying, which is the typical inflammatory response when dealing with an infection.
Lupus is more frequent among women and causes damage to skin, joints, kidneys, heart and brain. In addition to their lupus battling abilities, fatty acids delivered by marine animals and some plants have a protective effect on the heart
. You will find Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood, fish and krill which provide something called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). In addition, flaxseed, chia, hemp, and a few other foods, which have already earned great fame as health foods, also deliver these fatty acids in the form of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA).