Inflammation: The Root of Many Diseases

Inflammation is the underlying culprit of many modern diseases. Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and many others have an inflammatory component which drives, maintains, or worsens the disease process. It’s one of the primary reasons why sugar is viewed as detrimental to the body, and refined foods – that they contribute to inflammation. There are many foods, supplements and activities that can also help lower inflammation.

Recent Fish Oil Study and its Effects on Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil), is often used for this effect. A recent study looked at how exactly omega-3’s accomplish this end. Not much has been known as to why omega-3’ have this effect, but the scientific literature is fairly clear on their ability to dampen inflammation, and their benefits in a wide array of disease conditions.

Macrophages Instrumental in Coordinating Autophagy

The recent study looked at how macrophages, which are integral to the inflammatory response, are affected by omega-3’s.1Macrophages are instrumental in coordinating autophagy, which is the body’s way of cleaning up damaged cells. It was noted that autophagy is increased in macrophages when exposed to omega-3 fatty acids, and in turn inflammatory cytokines (Interferon 1) was inhibited.

In the World of Fish Oil Supplements, Quality Matters

A word to the wise, on omega-3 and fish oil supplements, quality does matter. These supplements are an oil, which means that they can go rancid if not stored in proper conditions, or are left on shelves for too long before or after shipping. Many cheaper brands have been found to not even have the omega-3 content they claim. Rancid oils could have the exact opposite effect in the body (increase inflammation) and could have other negative long-term effects. This is one supplement that you want to get from a good source that has third party testing.

** AND – if you get “fish oil burps,” try putting the capsules in the freezer 🙂


  1. Mildenberger J, Johansson I, Sergin I, et al. N-3 PUFAs induce inflammatory tolerance by formation of KEAP1-containing SQSTM1/p62-bodies and activation of NFE2L2. Autophagy. 2017;:1-15.
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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