fish oil good for gut microbiome

Is fish oil good for the gut microbiome?

Is fish oil good for the gut microbiome? Evidence suggests that increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids, like those in fish oil, is good for promoting gut health and reducing inflammation in the gut. 

This paper reviewed several clinical trials that investigated the effects of omega 3 essential fatty acids on the gut microbiome and intestinal immunity.

The journal:

Mediators of Inflammation

The paper:

Associations among Dietary Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids, the Gut Microbiota, and Intestinal Immunity (Jan 2021).

The authors: 

Yawei Fu, Yadong Wang, Hu Gao, DongHua Li, RuiRui Jiang, Lingrui Ge, Chao Tong, and Kang Xu.

What is omega 3?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat that are essential nutrients for our bodies. They play important roles in maintaining healthy brain and heart function and reducing inflammation. Basically, there are three main types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). 

EPA and DHA are primarily found in fatty fish and seafood, while ALA is found in plant-based sources such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. The body can convert ALA into EPA and DHA, but the conversion rate is relatively low. Because of this, it’s recommended to consume EPA and DHA directly from fish or supplement with fish oil.

What fish is highest in omega 3?

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are some of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Other types of fish such as trout, herring, and anchovies are also good sources of omega-3s. However, it’s important to note that the specific amount of omega-3s in fish can vary depending on the type of fish, where it was caught, and its diet. 

Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, because fish accumulate these through their diet. EPA and DHA are primarily found in marine algae, which are consumed by small fish, which are then consumed by larger fish. As a result, small oily fish such as salmon,mackerel and sardines are a rich source of EPA and DHA.

Fish oil supplements are a convenient way to increase your intake of EPA and DHA. Particularly if you don’t regularly consume fish or seafood. Additionally, fish oil supplements are often purified to remove contaminants such as mercury and PCBs, which can be found in some fish species.

Why is fish oil good for the gut microbiome?

Modulating the type and abundance of gut microbes:

Several studies showed that omega-3 affects the composition and diversity of the gut microbiome. 

For example, one study on mice found that supplementing with fish oil increases the abundance of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium

Another study in humans found that higher levels of omega-3 in the blood were associated with a higher abundance of Akkermansia and Lactobacillus.

Fish oil is good for reducing inflammation.

Omega-3 PUFAs have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and one way they achieve this is by reducing the levels of proinflammatory mediators such as endotoxins (lipopolysaccharides) and IL17.

Endotoxins are molecules found in the outer membrane of certain bacteria, and high levels contribute to inflammation and leaky gut. IL17 is a cytokine that is involved in the inflammatory response and is elevated in several inflammatory bowel diseases. 

Studies have shown that omega-3 can reduce the levels of both endotoxins and IL17 in the gut, which may help to reduce inflammation and promote gut health.

Fish oil is good for boosting short-chain fatty acids.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced by certain gut bacteria during the fermentation of dietary fiber. Certainly, they have important roles in the body, including regulating the immune response and promoting gut health. 

Omega-3 has been shown to increase the production of SCFAs in the gut, which promotes gut health and reduces inflammation. Additionally, omega-3 can be converted into short-chain fatty acid salts (SCFASs) in the gut. These also possess anti-inflammatory effects and help to reduce the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases.

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