Can Fish Oil Boost the Immune System?

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Many of us know the value of the immune system in disease prevention and cure but can fish oil boost the immune system?  Research published in as recent issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology concluded that “Fish oil may have immune enhancing properties that could benefit immunocompromised individuals.”  Fish oils rich in DHA and EPA have been thought to help prevent disease by reducing the inflammation, but until now scientists were not sure of its immune enhancing effects. This study helped to clarify this by showing that DHA-rich fish oil enhances B cell activity. a white cell, challenging the notion that fish oil is only immunosuppressive.

In the study there were two groups of mice. One group were fed a control diet and the other was fed a diet supplemented  with DHA-rich fish oil for five weeks. B cells were harvested from several tissues and then stimulated in cultures. Researchers then looked for B cell activation on the cell surface, B cell membrane changes, and B cell cytokine  Findings showed that DHA enriched fish oil enhanced B cell activation and select antibody production that may aid immune responses associated with pathogen clearance, while possibly dampening the totality of the inflammatory response., Researchers concluded “This work confirms similar findings on fish oil and the B cell from our lab, and moves us one step closer to understanding the immune enhancing properties of EPA and DHA.”

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