In a new study published in the Clinical Nutrition journal, Australian scientists show how fatty acid supplements can help reduce inflammation for people with chronic kidney disease. Describing how their work shows that, by supplementing such patients with fatty acids, the body’s synthesis of blood factors that help resolve inflammation can be increased, the researchers conclude this may have important implications for limiting inflammatory problems in chronic kidney disease.
Consisting of a double-blind placebo-controlled trial conducted over a period of 8 weeks, the study involved 85 patients, aged between 25 and 75, with chronic renal failure. The patients were randomised to receive either 4g of omega-3 fatty acids per day, 200mg of coenzyme Q10, both supplements, or a placebo consisting of 4g of olive oil. At the end of the study period, when examining a group of blood factors known as Specialised Pro-resolving Lipid Mediators (SPMs) that are derived from omega-3 fatty acids known to help resolve inflammation, the researchers found the patients who received the fatty acid supplements had an enhanced synthesis of SPMs. They therefore suggest that long term omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is a potential therapy for limiting the low-grade inflammation that associates with, and exacerbates, the progression of chronic renal failure.
Inflammation is not something that only occurs in renal failure, however; it occurs naturally in response to bodily injury and is also associated with diseases such as arteriosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer and infections. But in all of these cases conventional medicine aims solely at the management of inflammatory symptoms, generally by using steroids or painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Significantly therefore, not only do these approaches fail to eliminate the actual cause of inflammation, they are also associated with severe – and sometimes life-threatening – side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding or fatal heart attacks.
While some individual nutrients, such as those in the omega-3 supplement used in this Australian study, may display some anti-inflammatory effects, the use of specific combinations of micronutrients acting in biological synergy is by far the best approach to controlling this health problem. In this respect, pioneering research carried out at the Dr. Rath Reasearch Institute has shown that a mixture of selected micronutrients including vitamin C, quercetin, green tea extract, L-lysine, L-proline, L-arginine and N-acetyl cysteine is effective in producing a significant reduction of various inflammatory mediators and cytokines involved in systemic inflammation.
This nutrient mixture has an additional important effect in that it can also suppress COX-2, a pro-inflammatory enzyme, by 90%. This is particularly significant because ibuprofen, a commonly used NSAID, is not effective against the COX-2 enzyme.
Just as with other common health problems, therefore, through taking advantage of the benefits of micronutrient synergy in inflammation and the new understanding that health and disease are determined at the cellular level, it is possible to control the inflammatory process in the body and alleviate the diseases associated with it. In the health care systems of the future, this approach should ultimately replace the use of dangerous pharmaceuticals and become the norm.