Aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids, contained in fish and fish oil, deliver a molecular one-two punch that can reduce the risk of heart disease, arthritis, lung disease, and other health conditions tied to inflammation, new research suggests.
Scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School have determined aspirin helps trigger the production of molecules that are naturally made by the body from omega-3 fatty acids — called resolvins — that turn off the inflammation that underlies cardiovascular disease and other disorders.
The researchers, writing in the journal Chemistry & Biology, noted health experts have long touted the benefits of low-dose aspirin and omega-3 fatty acids, but did not fully understand the mechanisms involved in their effects. But the new study, involving laboratory mice, identified resolvins as the culprit and noted aspirin and omega-3s work together to boost health.
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"In this report, we found that one resolvin, termed resolvin D3 from the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, persists longer at sites of inflammation than either resolvin D1 or resolvin D2 in the natural resolution of inflammation in mice," said lead researcher Charles Serhan, M.D. "This finding suggests that this late resolution phase resolvin D3 might display unique properties in fighting uncontrolled inflammation."
Co-researcher Nicos Petasis, M.D., of the University of Southern California, added that when when the molecules were used to treat human cells, they also demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory actions.
"With this new information, investigators will now also be able to study the … anti-inflammatory actions of resolvin D3 in other systems," said Dr. Serhan.
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