As people age, systemic inflammation can inflict degenerative effects throughout the body. A primary cause of this destructive cascade is the production of cell-signaling chemicals known as inflammatory cytokines. Along with these dangerous cytokines, imbalances of hormone-like messengers called prostaglandins also contribute to inflammatory processes.
What you eat also contributes to the production of inflammatory cytokines. Eating foods cooked at high temperature can cause the formation of advanced glycation end (AGE) products. Glycation is the binding of a protein molecule to a glucose molecule that results in the formation of damaged protein structures. As the damaged proteins accumulate, they activate the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Presently there is no way to reverse the effects of glycation.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs)
While the polyunsaturated fats known as omega-6 fatty acids are essential to optimal health, most Americans and citizens of other Western nations consume far too many omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids and not enough omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In fact, some Western diets consists of 20 parts of omega-6 to only one part of omega-3. For optimum health, the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids should be between 1:1 and 4:1. This severe imbalance that occurs with most people contributes to the development of long-term health problems.
Studies associate the Mediterranean diet, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, olive oil, and antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables, and herbs, with lowered cardiovascular risk and increased life span. Other studies support omega-3’s importance in cardiovascular health. In fact, the FDA states that supportive but not conclusive research shows that consumption of EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.
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|Dosage and Use|
Those taking anticoagulant drugs like Coumadin® (warfarin) should inform their doctor that they are taking GLA, EPA, or DHA supplements, as the physician may want to adjust the dose of anticoagulant medication based on tests that measure coagulation factors such as template bleeding time.
Since GLA, EPA, and DHA interfere with blood clotting, those who suffer from any type of hemorrhagic disease related to excessive bleeding or blood vessel leakage should consult their physician before supplementing these fatty acids.