According to the World Health Organization, chronic degenerative conditions now represent the number one health threat globally. That means that, likely for the first time in history, more humans are losing their lives to chronic, and largely preventable, conditions than to trauma, infectious diseases, and even war.
Yet, chronic degenerative conditions are largely preventable as they are powerfully linked to lifestyle choices. Diets higher in sugar and carbohydrates coupled with lack of physical activity are strongly related to increased risk for some of the most common degenerative conditions, like type 2 diabetes, obesity, coronary artery disease. Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
From a mechanistic perspective, the way in which our lifestyle choices may pave the way for these conditions is by enhancing inflammation. Inflammation is what narrows the coronary arteries in coronary artery disease. It’s what damages delicate brain cells in Alzheimer’s. It’s what reduces the functionality of our immune systems, paving the way for cancer cells to speed their growth.
One simple lifestyle choice that is receiving a lot of attention as of late is the addition of DHA to the diet. DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil, targets inflammation in a very health-supportive way.
In a recent study, Canadian researchers studied the effectiveness of a daily dosage of 3 grams of DHA in reducing markers of inflammation in a group of adults whose only health issue was abdominal obesity. Over a 10-week period, compared to those consuming a placebo, the group taking the DHA showed a dramatic reduction (and one significantly better than the group taking EPA) in various blood markers of inflammation like interleulin-8, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor alpha.
So once again, there’s plenty of support for taking a high-quality fish oil supplement as a source of DHA. We’ve got to do everything possible to reduce inflammation and this is one lifestyle decision that’s relatively simple and clearly supported by great science!