FAB RESEARCH COMMENT:
Leading researchers explain here why and how 'resolvins' and other regulatory substances derived from long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) offer a promising new way to control the excessive inflammation responsible for the most severe and life-threatening forms of illness that the new coronavirus can cause in vulnerable individuals.
Resolvins are made naturally within the body from both EPA and DHA, and are already known to play an active and critical role in reducing and resolving inflammation. Specially synthesised versions have already been trialled in other conditions involving excessive inflammation.
Other mediators derived from EPA help to reduce blood-clotting - another complication associated with severe COVID-19 illness.
The long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA, found in fish and seafood) act as raw materials for a huge array of 'lipid mediators' that help regulate immune function, blood flow, hormonal balance and many other functions.
Very broadly, mediators derived from omega-3 EPA and DHA (including eicosanoids and resolvins) have anti-anflammatory actions, and improve blood flow, while eicosanoids derived from the main long-chain omega-6 (arachidonic acid) tend to promote inflammation and enhance blood clotting.
This explains why an appropriate omega-3/6 balance is so important for health. But typical modern, western-type diets are seriously imbalanced, as they are very low in long-chain omega-3 fats (found in fish and seafood), but high in omega-6 (found in meat, eggs, dairy products and all vegetable oils).
Importantly, the 'underlying health conditions' associated with vulnerability to more severe forms of COVID-19 - including obesity, Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease - are themselves associated with persistent inflammation (as are many mental health conditions, most notably depression). All are also strongly linked with the consumption of modern, western-type diets rich in omega-6, and relatively lacking in omega-3 fats.
These new findings not only offer promise for the management of severe COVID-19 illness. They also reinforce a huge body of existing evidence showing that increasing omega-3 intakes, and therefore improving omega-3/6 balance, could also improve immune system (and cardiovascular) health more generally, and reduce the prevalence and severity of the many chronic physical and mental health conditions in which excessive inflammation is now implicated.
For more details on this new research article, which is open-access, see: