Inflammatory diseases

It’s been known for years that omega-3 fats can help fight coronary heart disease, asthma, type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. The beneficial effects have also been seen in some cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, mental health, dry eye disease, age-related macular degeneration and psoriasis. Many of these conditions involve inflammation.

Our bodies use inflammation to protect tissues from infection, injury or disease. It usually promotes healing but, if uncontrolled, can harm. We now know that the balance of omega-6s to omega-3s is important for regulating inflammation. As a general rule, omega-6 fats are considered proinflammatory, whereas omega-3 fats are considered anti-inflammatory (GLA is the exception as it is an omega-6 fat with antiinflammatory properties).

There is evidence that changing the diet can help some people with inflammatory conditions; some of these are discussed below.