Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Eliminate What Triggers Lupus

First Posted: Oct 02, 2016 05:44 AM EDT

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects about 1.5 million Americans. According to experts, lupus flares are usually triggered by certain environmental factors. However, research shows that there may be help in a specific nutrient.

Lupus is considered a genetic disease, affecting mostly women aged around 15 to 44. Although people of all races and ethnic groups can develop the disease, it most likely affects women of color such as African-American and Hispanic women. And, since lupus is a disease of flares and remissions, there are several common triggers for lupus flares, like ultraviolet ray exposure which usually happens when people with lupus stay under the sun for too long or do tanning in bed. Experts also said that certain medications, an injury or infection, or even emotional or physical stress can trigger lupus flares.

Science Daily reported that a team of Michigan State University researchers has found that having an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, can stop a known trigger of lupus and potentially other autoimmune disorders. DHA can usually be found in fat, cold-water fishes and is made by the algae ingested by the fish and stored in their bodies, and according to statistics, there are over 30 million Americans who use fish oil supplements.

"What we discovered was when lupus was triggered by crystalline silica, a toxic mineral also known as quartz that's linked to human autoimmunity, DHA blocked the activation of the disease," said Melissa Bates, one of the study's lead authors and a doctoral student in MSU's Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Institute of Integrative Toxicology.

According to Medical Xpress, the preclinical study examined the effect of DHA on lupus lesions located in the lungs and kidneys of female mice that have already been predisposed to the autoimmune disease. Another study author and pulmonary pathologist,Jack Harkema said: "Ninety-six percent of the lung lesions were stopped with DHA after being triggered by the silica." He also added saying that he has never seen a protective response in the lung before.

It is also important to note that although the reason for the benefit is still not known, researchers believe that DHA can change the cells to alter the response of the immune system that targets healthy cells by signaling or through other protective response, reported

Meanwhile, it is believed that DHA can also be found in fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is another omega-3 fatty acid. Vegetarian sources of DHA can come from seaweed.

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