Couldn't find what you looking for?


We all know that it is important to eat fish because of the omega-3 but the extent of its benefits may reach further than we thought. Can the anti-inflammatory and immune boost from omega-3 make a difference when you are dealing with your fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a chronic process where patients suffer from unrelenting fatigue, muscle pain, depression and a reduced quality of life [1]. These non-specific symptoms have non-specific treatments and as a result, patients may be taking a number of medications with a number of unwanted side effects [2]. A number of supplements for fibromyalgia exist on the market that can bring along help in the form of fibromyalgia pain relief, reduced depression and even increased energy. These can range from things like 5-HTP for a better sleep, SAM-e for depression, or NADH to boost energy levelsOmega-3 fatty acids have become very popular in modern society as the medical community advocates for patients to eat more fish to promote a healthier lifestyle [3]. Can omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and maybe even improve immunity in patients that are suffering from fibromyalgia? 

Can Omega-3 Fatty Acid Help Reduce Inflammation? 

In order to be a viable supplement for fibromyalgia, omega-3 fatty acid needs to be able to alleviate the inflammation that is associated with a disease of chronic nature. Studies confirm that omega-3 fatty acid does have anti-inflammatory properties. This marine oil is comprised of two components: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These two acids are the main components that explain why omega-3 is so useful when it comes to improving cholesterol panels, reducing oxidative stress or causing the release of cytokines that reduce inflammation. [4]

Studies show that stressful conditions like coronary artery disease, major depression, cancer, and aging are all diseases that lead to the proliferation of interleukin-1, a pro-inflammatory agent that we secrete in times of stress [5]. Experiments have been able to determine that the threshold for such an anti-inflammatory response is seen only in patients that take more than 2 grams of omega-3 daily. If patients do not reach this threshold, patients do not generate enough anti-inflammatory factors to make a difference. These studies were unable to determine if patients would need to take higher doses depending on the extent and type of disease that is seen in patients with chronic diseases.[6]

Nevertheless, it is apparent when posed with the question of "can omega-3 fatty acid help reduce inflammation?" we can conclude that it does. Dosing and effect may vary, but patients taking this type of medication as a supplement for fibromyalgia will surely benefit. 

Can Omega-3 Fatty Acids Improve Immunity? 

Now that we know that omega-3 can help reduce inflammation, the question shifts to "can omega-3 fatty acids improve immunity" also? A good supplement for fibromyalgia should also boost our immune system. As I have discussed in a previous article related to treating your fibromyalgia, Chlorella has already been proven to be a supplement that can boost our immune system. Studies do show that omega-3 fatty acid may have some type of immune response but the effectiveness is not completely understood. [7]

In animal studies, it was determined that omega-3 does have some influence on the immune system. Researchers have discovered that there has been a downregulation of auto-reactive T cells via apoptosis. In most of the auto-immune diseases, T cells are responsible for attacking our own normal tissue. This occurs because of an unintentional change in receptor sites making it hard to these normally helpful cells that fight disease and make us healthy to realize who the true target is. [8]  This Omega-3 reaction prevents T cells from having these radical receptor changes. Animals who were fed diets that were high in omega-3 were found to have increased survival and reduced disease severity in spontaneous auto-antibody mediated diseases. [9]

In human subjects, what is known is that patients suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions have high levels of n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid (omega-6) and low levels of omega-3. What is significant about this process is that omega-6 is a precursor molecule for prostaglandins and leukotrienes that are both highly active mediators of inflammation. When fish oil is introduced to arachidonic acid, (another precursor to these prostaglandins and leukotrienes), part of the acid is replaced by EPA sequences to reduce inflammation. [10] It is believed that it also helps reduce responses from monocytes and neutrophils. Omega-3 prevents chemotaxis from occurring. This is a response that occurs naturally in our body. When a bacteria or virus is able to enter into our body, immune cells will launch an assault to defend our body before we can get sick from the disease. Only a few cells are patrolling around our bloodstream to identify these intruders but once a new target has been established, chemotaxis occurs and a special signal is sent to direct more cells to respond. Due to this, omega-3 has been postulated to be a good supplement to have beneficial effects in rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel diseases, and even asthmatic patients. [11]

This may also be helpful in diseases like fibromyalgia where complex immunological reactions are believed to be at the root of the systemic problems patients experience. The results may not be as conclusive as other supplements that we have identified in our search for good supplements for fibromyalgia, but the benefits are promising, so it is something to consider in your fight against fibromyalgia.  

Your thoughts on this

User avatar Guest