Dr. Lucilla Gatta talks about the role and importance of omega-3s in nutrition.
Omega 3 are polyunsaturated fatty acids . They fall into the category of all those nutrients defined as essential
Food sources of omega 3 are mainly plant -based foods, such as flax seeds or seaweed , but also some types of fish , such as mackerel , salmon, sea bass and herring.
Why are they useful?
Omega 3 fatty acids they are also very important in regulating the functioning of our immune system, which, as we know, has the role of protecting us from pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria and other pathogens.
A healthy diet is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, and among these, omega 3 perform important immune-regulatory functions, but also of structure, as an integral part of the constitution of cell membranes, whose fluidity is also given by the polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The impact omega 3s have on immune system cells varies from cell to cell, the immune system being made up of a heterogeneous group of cells.
For example, omega 3s alter important mechanisms of the gene regulation of macrophages , and consequently also their ability to engulf the host , a capacity that is "increased". Furthermore, omega 3 fatty acids reduce the secretion of cytokines by macrophages, and this is linked to the anti- inflammatory role of this category of polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The omega 3 then modulate the function of neutrophils, leukocytes circulating in the blood stream, and the first to be "recruited" in the inflammation phase , their ability to engulf the host , to produce free radicals and cytokines , and to migrate to the site of inflammation . Furthermore, a good intake of omega correlates with an increased number of neutrophils in the bone marrow and spleen .
As for T lymphocytes , omega 3 supplementation has positive effects on T lymphocyte mediated pathologies, such as autoimmune hepatitis . While, with regard to B lymphocytes , it has been found that a diet rich in omega 3 does not alter the number of B lymphocytes in any way and has a negative effect on the immune activation of the latter, although there are still studies on it. course due to some controversy.