Understanding How Omega 3 Dampens Inflammatory Reactions

Understanding How Omega 3 Dampens Inflammatory Reactions

Summary: Researchers from NTNU find new evidence of how omega 3 fatty acids can dampen inflammatory reactions in the body.

Source: Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Omega-3 supplements may help slow the development of diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which we primarily get through eating fatty fish, have long been thought to be good for our health. Many dietary studies have suggested that high intake is associated with a reduced risk of various disorders. Clinical trials have also shown beneficial anti-inflammatory effects in patients taking omega-3 supplements.

Recent research from NTNU supports previous discoveries, and has also found new, useful effects of omega-3 supplements and how these lipids dampen harmful inflammatory reactions in the body.

Effects little known

Despite numerous published dietary and clinical studies, we still don’t fully understand how omega-3 fatty acids affect our cells and if this varies from person to person, between healthy and ill individuals, or whether the mechanism of action varies in different tissues and cells. What we are most sure of is that omega-3 fatty acids can dampen inflammatory reactions. Inflammatory reactions are very important in combating infections, but they can be harmful if activated too strongly or in the absence of bacteria and viruses, like in autoimmune diseases and organ transplants.

Macrophages, which are immune cells that live in all tissues and organs, play a key role in coordinating inflammatory reactions in the body and monitor everything that happens in our tissues. The macrophages convert the information they obtain through various sensors or receptor on their surface to secretion of various hormone-like signal substances that control all parts of inflammatory reactions.

Inflammation can be harmful

We have increasingly become aware that macrophages can be more or less potent in activating inflammatory reactions. So-called sterile inflammatory reactions, such as autoimmune diseases, are often directly harmful.

The ability of macrophages to stimulate inflammatory reactions depends on processes within the macrophage.

Autophagy is one of the processes within macrophages that is important for whether a macrophage is calm or hyperactive. Autophagy (meaning “self-eating”) is a key process for degradation of dysfunctional or unnecessary proteins and other components within our cells.

In the last few years, we’ve learned a lot about how important this process is, say the researchers. The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2016 was given to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discovery of the key genes that control autophagy.

Autophagy is constantly going on in all cells and increases if the cells are starving or injured. We hypothesized that omega-3 fatty acids could dampen inflammatory reactions by elevating autophagy in macrophages. If so, we surmised that this effect might change the signal transformation in the macrophage and as a result, suppress activation of inflammatory reactions.

Activates self-cleaning process

By studying macrophages isolated from mice and humans, we found that the omega-3 fatty acids activated the autophagy and specifically affected some proteins that transform the signals from the environment. Furthermore, we found that omega-3 fatty acids dampened many inflammatory mechanisms within the macrophages, but especially reduced what is known as the type 1 interferon response.

Image shows omega 3 pills.

The factor CXCL-10, which macrophages secrete as part of this interferon response following many types of stimuli, was the most clearly reduced factor after adding omega-3 to the cells.

We then examined blood samples from a clinical study in cardiac transplant patients where we knew that omega-3 supplements improved their clinical status. In these cases, we found that omega-3 fatty acids reduced the level of CXCL-10.

Supplements beneficial

Autophagy thus changes in macrophages in response to omega-3 fatty acids and specifically inhibits the secretion of inflammatory factors that belong to the interferon response, with CXCL-10 showing the clearest reduction. The results of this study are being published in the journal Autophagy.

These findings indicate that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may be particularly beneficial in patients who have conditions that are driven or aggravated by a strong interferon response and CXCL-10.

Our research group hopes that this one day will benefit patients with different forms of cancer, meningitis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or jaundice. But we must emphasize that a lot of work remains.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

The work being published by PhD candidate Jennifer Mildenberger and colleagues was conducted at CEMIR and at NTNU’s Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science in the Faculty of Natural Science. In addition, researchers in St. Louis, USA carried out important sub studies. The blood tests were from a clinical trial conducted at Oslo University Hospital.

Article author Geir Bjørkøy is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Laboratory Science at NTNU.

Article author Jennifer Mildenberger works for NTNU-Cemir.

Source: Jennifer Mildenberger – Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Abstract for “N-3 PUFAs induce inflammatory tolerance by formation of KEAP1-containing SQSTM1/p62-bodies and activation of NFE2L2” by Jennifer Mildenberger, Ida Johansson, Ismail Sergin, Eli Kjøbli, Jan Kristian Damås, Babak Razani, Trude Helen Flo & Geir Bjørkøy in Autophagy. Published online August 18 2017 doi:10.1080/15548627.2017.1345411

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
Norwegian University of Science and Technology “Understanding How Omega 3 Dampens Inflammatory Reactions.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 24 August 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/inflammation-response-omega-3-7369/&gt;.

Abstract

N-3 PUFAs induce inflammatory tolerance by formation of KEAP1-containing SQSTM1/p62-bodies and activation of NFE2L2

Inflammation is crucial in the defense against infections but must be tightly controlled to limit detrimental hyperactivation. Our diet influences inflammatory processes and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) have known anti-inflammatory effects. The balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory processes is coordinated by macrophages and macroautophagy/autophagy has recently emerged as a cellular process that dampens inflammation. Here we report that the n-3 PUFA docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) transiently induces cytosolic speckles of the autophagic receptor SQSTM1/p62 (sequestosome 1) (described as SQSTM1/p62-bodies) in macrophages.

We suggest that the formation of SQSTM1/p62-bodies represents a fast mechanism of NFE2L2/Nrf2 (nuclear factor, erythroid 2 like 2) activation by recruitment of KEAP1 (kelch like ECH associated protein 1). Further, the autophagy receptor TAX1BP1 (Tax1 binding protein 1) and ubiquitin-editing enzyme TNFAIP3/A20 (TNF alpha induced protein 3) could be identified in DHA-induced SQSTM1/p62-bodies. Simultaneously, DHA strongly dampened the induction of pro-inflammatory genes including CXCL10 (C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 10) and we suggest that formation of SQSTM1/p62-bodies and activation of NFE2L2 leads to tolerance towards selective inflammatory stimuli. Finally, reduced CXCL10 levels were related to the improved clinical outcome in n-3 PUFA-supplemented heart-transplant patients and we propose CXCL10 as a robust marker for the clinical benefits mobilized by n-3 PUFA supplementation.

“N-3 PUFAs induce inflammatory tolerance by formation of KEAP1-containing SQSTM1/p62-bodies and activation of NFE2L2” by Jennifer Mildenberger, Ida Johansson, Ismail Sergin, Eli Kjøbli, Jan Kristian Damås, Babak Razani, Trude Helen Flo & Geir Bjørkøy in Autophagy. Published online August 18 2017 doi:10.1080/15548627.2017.1345411


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High Moral Reasoning Associated With Increased Reward System Activity

High Moral Reasoning Associated With Increased Reward System Activity

Source: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Individuals who have a high level of moral reasoning show increased activity in the brain’s frontostriatal reward system, both during periods of rest and while performing a sequential risk taking and decision making task according to a new study from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Shanghai International Studies University in Shanghai, China and Charité Universitätsmediz in Berlin, Germany.

The findings from the study, published this month in Scientific Reports, may help researchers to understand how brain function differs in individuals at different stages of moral reasoning and why some individuals who reach a high level of moral reasoning are more likely to engage in certain “prosocial” behaviors – such as performing community service or giving to charity – based on more advanced principles and ethical rules.

The study refers to Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development theory which proposes that individuals go through different stages of moral reasoning as their cognitive abilities mature. According to the researchers, Kohlberg’s theory implies that individuals at a lower level of moral reasoning are more prone to judge moral issues primarily based on personal interests or adherence to laws and rules, whereas individuals with higher levels of moral reasoning judge moral issues based on deeper principles and shared ideals.

The researchers’ previous work found an association between high levels of moral reasoning and gray matter volume, establishing a critical link between moral reasoning and brain structure. This more recent study sought to discover whether a link exists between moral reasoning and brain function.

In this study, the researchers aimed to investigate whether the development of morality is associated with measurable aspects of brain function. To answer this question, they tested moral reasoning in a large sample of more than 700 Wharton MBA students, and looked at the brain reward system activity in a subset of 64 students, both with and without doing a task. According to Hengyi Rao, PhD, a research assistant professor of Cognitive Neuroimaging in Neurology and Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine and senior author of the study, the team observed considerable individual differences in moral development levels and brain function in this relatively homogeneous and well-educated MBA group of subjects.

“It is well established in the literature that the brain reward system is involved in moral judgment, decision making, and prosocial behavior. However, it remains unknown whether brain reward system function can be affected by stages of moral development,” Rao said. “To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate the modulation effect of moral reasoning level on human brain reward system activity. Findings from our study provide new insights into the potential neural basis and underlying psychological processing mechanism of individual differences in moral development. ”

Image shows a brain scan.

The finding of increased brain reward system activity in individuals at a high level of moral reasoning suggests the importance of positive motivations towards others in moral reasoning development, rather than selfish motives. These findings also support Kohlberg’s theory that higher levels of moral reasoning tend to be promotion and other-focused (do it because it is right) rather than prevention or self-focused (do not do it because it is wrong).

“Our study documents brain function differences associated with higher and lower levels of moral reasoning. It is still unclear whether the observed brain function differences are the cause or the result of differential levels of moral reasoning,” explained Diana Robertson, PhD, a James T. Riady professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the Wharton School and a co-author of the study. “However, we believe that both factors of nurture, such as education, parental socialization and life experience, and factors of nature, like biological or evolutionary basis, the innate capacities of the mind, and the genetic basis may contribute to individual differences in moral development.”

The researchers say future studies could expand on this work by assessing to what extent individual differences in moral reasoning development depend on in-born differences or learned experience, and whether education can further promote moral reasoning stage in individuals even past the age at which structural and functional brain maturation is complete.

ABOUT THIS NEUROSCIENCE RESEARCH ARTICLE

Other Penn co-authors include Zhuo Fang, Wi Hoon Jung, Marc Korczykowski, Lijuan Luo, Sihua Xu, John A. Detre, and Joseph W. Kable.

Funding: Funding for the study was provided by the National Institutes of Health grants (R03DA027098, R01HL102119, R01 MH107571, R21DA032022, and P30NS045839), and a pilot grant from the Center for Functional Neuroimaging, the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, the Mack Institute at the Wharton School, Carlos M. de la Cruz, Sr., the Program for Professors of Special Appointment Eastern Scholar at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning TP2016020, and the National Science Foundation of China grants (31070984 and 31400872).

Source: Queen Muse – University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Rao et al., Scientific Reports.
Original Research: Full open access research for “Post-conventional moral reasoning is associated with increased ventral striatal activity at rest and during task” by Zhuo Fang, Wi Hoon Jung, Marc Korczykowski, Lijuan Luo, Kristin Prehn, Sihua Xu, John A. Detre, Joseph W. Kable, Diana C. Robertson & Hengyi Rao in Scientific Reports. Published online August 2 2017 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07115-w

CITE THIS NEUROSCIENCENEWS.COM ARTICLE
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine “High Moral Reasoning Associated With Increased Reward System Activity.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 22 August 2017.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/reward-system-moral-reasoning-7344/&gt;.

Abstract

Post-conventional moral reasoning is associated with increased ventral striatal activity at rest and during task

People vary considerably in moral reasoning. According to Kohlberg’s theory, individuals who reach the highest level of post-conventional moral reasoning judge moral issues based on deeper principles and shared ideals rather than self-interest or adherence to laws and rules. Recent research has suggested the involvement of the brain’s frontostriatal reward system in moral judgments and prosocial behaviors. However, it remains unknown whether moral reasoning level is associated with differences in reward system function. Here, we combined arterial spin labeling perfusion and blood oxygen level-dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging and measured frontostriatal reward system activity both at rest and during a sequential risky decision making task in a sample of 64 participants at different levels of moral reasoning. Compared to individuals at the pre-conventional and conventional level of moral reasoning, post-conventional individuals showed increased resting cerebral blood flow in the ventral striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Cerebral blood flow in these brain regions correlated with the degree of post-conventional thinking across groups. Post-conventional individuals also showed greater task-induced activation in the ventral striatum during risky decision making. These findings suggest that high-level post-conventional moral reasoning is associated with increased activity in the brain’s frontostriatal system, regardless of task-dependent or task-independent states.

“Post-conventional moral reasoning is associated with increased ventral striatal activity at rest and during task” by Zhuo Fang, Wi Hoon Jung, Marc Korczykowski, Lijuan Luo, Kristin Prehn, Sihua Xu, John A. Detre, Joseph W. Kable, Diana C. Robertson & Hengyi Rao in Scientific Reports. Published online August 2 2017 doi:10.1038/s41598-017-07115-w

Nitric Oxide Dump Exercise with nose breathing to lower blood pressure and thin blood

By Dr Mercola

Super-Simple Way to Boost Your Health in Less Than 10 Minutes a Day

As mentioned, while I still endorse HIIT, I believe I’ve learned an even easier way to reap most if not all of the same benefits of a more elaborate HIIT protocol with just four simple movements — no weights or equipment required. Best of all, it only requires three minutes of your time, twice or three times a day, with at least two hours between sessions.

This is the nitric oxide (NO) dump exercise developed by Dr. Zach Bush. NO is an extremely important part of biochemical regulation, and understanding and controlling its formation has the potential for profound influences on your health. Most notably, NO:

  • Protects your heart by relaxing your blood vessels and lowering your blood pressure
  • Stimulates your brain
  • Kills bacteria and defends against tumor cells
  • Helps maintain homeostasis in your body

For a demonstration, see the video above. If you have previously watched this video, please review it again as I recently updated it to correct a couple of errors and omissions that sneaked into my previous video. A key component I forgot in my earlier video is to make sure you’re breathing through your nose and not your mouth. Your nose actually regulates more than 30 physical processes, including the release of NO, and of course serves to filter the air you breathe.

Compared to a regular HIIT protocol, the NO dump exercise is a far gentler strategy that can be done by just about anyone, regardless of your current level of fitness or age. You’d be hard-pressed to injure yourself doing this. Since you’re just using your body to perform simple knee bends and arm lifts, the exercise is more or less automatically customized to your current level of ability.

Yet, despite its simplicity, I’m convinced you’ll still obtain most of the benefits you get from HIIT. While I demonstrate 20 reps in the above video, it is best to start at 10 reps and gradually work your way up to 20. Remember, don’t do this more than every two hours, as it takes that long for the NO to be generated from eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase).


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Take care of your Thyroid gland, 240% increase in Thyroid cancer among women

Hypothyroidism

It happens when your thyroid gland, located at the front of your neck, doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (underactive thyroid). There are several types of hypothyroidism. The most common is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. The disease affects both sexes and all ages, but is most common in women over age 60. Because the thyroid gland helps regulate your metabolism, low thyroid levels cause your body to slow down and can affect everything from appetite to body temperature. Symptoms can appear over time and can be hard to diagnose. Left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause serious health complications.

Signs and Symptoms

Slow pulse

Fatigue

Hoarse voice, slowed speech

Goiter (caused by swollen thyroid gland)

Sensitivity to cold

Weight gain

Constipation

Dry, scaly, thick, coarse hair

Numbness in fingers or hands

Confusion, depression, dementia

Headaches

Menstrual problems

In children, slowed growth, delayed teething, and slow mental development

What Causes It?

There are different kinds of hypothyroidism with different causes. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, antibodies in the blood mistakenly attack the thyroid gland and start to destroy it. Post-therapeutic hypothyroidism occurs when treatment for hyperthyroidism leaves the thyroid unable to produce enough thyroid hormone. And hypothyroidism with goiter happens when you don’t get enough iodine in your diet. In the developed world iodine is added to salt so goiter is rare, although it still happens in undeveloped countries.

What to Expect at Your Provider’s Office

Your thyroid gland produces two main thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. In addition, the pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which helps control how much T3 and T4 the thyroid makes. Your health care provider will draw blood to measure levels TSH. When levels of thyroid hormones are low, your body produces more TSH to increase production of thyroid hormones. Your doctor may also test for levels of T3 or T4.

Natural medicine practitioners may pay particular attention to levels of T3 hormone. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone. Your thyroid gland makes some T3, but the body also converts T4 into T3. If you are unable to convert T4 to T3, your laboratory tests for T4 may be normal, but you still may have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Talk to your doctor about including T3 laboratory tests in the treatment of your hypothyroidism.

Treatment Options

Drug Therapies

Your health care provider will prescribe a synthetic thyroid hormone called levothyroxine (Levothroid, Synthroid, Unithroid) that you will take daily. A natural dessicated thyroid hormone drug, made from the thyroid glands of pigs, is also available by prescription. Your doctor will want to adjust your dose over a period of several weeks, after regular blood tests to check the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood.

Complementary and Alternative Therapies

If you have hypothyroidism, you need conventional medical treatment. Nutrition and herbs can help support conventional treatment, but should not be used by themselves to treat hypothyroidism.

Nutrition and Supplements

Following these nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:
Eat foods high in B-vitamins and iron, such as whole grains (if no allergy), fresh vegetables, and sea vegetables.
Avoid foods that interfere with thyroid function, including broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, spinach, turnips, soybeans, peanuts, linseed, pine nuts, millet, cassava, and mustard greens.
If you take thyroid hormone medication, talk to your doctor before eating soy products. There is some evidence soy may interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone.
Taking iron supplements may interfere with the absorption of thyroid hormone medication, so ask your doctor before taking iron.

Note: A goitrogen is a substance that suppresses the function of the thyroid gland by inhibiting iodine uptake, and these things are called goitrogens because they tend to cause goiter, which is a swelling of the thyroid gland. Some foods have been shown to be goitrogenic when they’re eaten in excess or if the person’s background intake of iodine is low. These are things like cassava, which is otherwise known as yuca, that’s how I usually talk about it; soy products; millet; sweet potatoes; cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy; and then most of the dark leafy greens like kale and collard greens.

Over the counter medications can also affect your thyroid glands.

Eat foods high in antioxidants, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes) and vegetables (such as squash and bell pepper).
Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Talk to your doctor before increasing your caffeine intake, as caffeine impacts several conditions and medications.

These supplements may also help:
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, to help decrease inflammation and help with immunity. Omega-3 fatty acids may increase the risk of bleeding, especially if you already take blood-thinning medication. Ask your doctor before taking omega-3 fatty acids if you take blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) or if you have a bleeding disorder.
L-tyrosine, 500 mg two to three times daily. The thyroid gland combines tyrosine and iodine to make thyroid hormone. If you are taking prescription thyroid hormone medication, you should never take L-tyrosine without direction from your doctor. Do not take L-tyrosine if you have high blood pressure or have symptoms of mania.
Do not take an iodine supplement unless your doctor tells you to. Iodine is only effective when hypothyroidism is caused by iodine deficiency, which is rare in the developed world. And too much iodine can actually cause hypothyroidism.

Herbs

Herbs are a way to strengthen and tone the body’s systems. As with any therapy, you should work with your health care provider to get your problem diagnosed before starting any treatment. You may use herbs may as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). People with a history of alcoholism should not take tinctures. Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 – 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 – 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 – 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures singly or in combination as noted.

Few herbs have been studied for treating hypothyroidism. More research is needed.
Coleus (Coleus forskohlii), for low thyroid function. Coleus may interfere with certain medications, including some blood pressure medicines, nitrogylcern, and blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin). Talk to your doctor.
Guggul (Commiphora mukul), for low thyroid support. Guggul may interfere with estrogen, birth control pills, and other medications. Talk with your doctor.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), for low thyroid support. Do not take bladderwrack unless directed by your doctor. Bladderwrack contains iodine. Although lack of iodine can cause hypothyroidism, most cases of hypothyroidism in the developed world are not caused by iodine deficiency. In fact, too much iodine can actually cause hypothyroidism. Bladderwrack may also contain toxic heavy metals.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy may be useful as a supportive therapy.

Physical Medicine

Contrast hydrotherapy (application of hot and cold) to the neck and throat may stimulate thyroid function. Alternate 3 minutes hot with 1 minute cold. Repeat three times for one set. Do two to three sets per day.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture may be helpful in correcting hormonal imbalances, including thyroid disorders.

Following Up

After you start on thyroid hormone replacement therapy, your provider will want you to have frequent checkups to monitor its effectiveness.

———-

Wash your veggies with salt water or diluted vinegar to remove excess pesticides. Eat a little of cooked cruciferous veggies than raw ones.