What? Why? How? Immunity
Omega fatty acids were discovered by George and Mildred Burr in 1929-1930, Vanderbilt
University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Why was it called Omega??-Omega is last letter
in Greek. Double-bond at end of molecule.
Linolenic Acid Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) (18:3 ω3)
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty
They are also called polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
There are 3 Omega-3 fatty acids.
The most common one is called Linolenic Acid (short chain-C18:3).
There are two other Omega-3 Fatty acids.
They are long chain Omega-3.
One is called Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), C20:5ω3.
The other is called Docosahexaenoic (DHA), C22:6ω3.
EPA and DHA are found in fatty fish: salmon, trout, sardines, tuna, mackerel,
and fish oil.
Linolenic acid is found in plant seeds and
plant oil and is converted to EPA and DHA in the body.
There is another EFA, PUFA which is called
Omega-6 fatty acid.
The common one is called Linoleic Acid.
It is C18:2ω6. There is also Arachidonic acid. It is C20:4ω6.
The ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3 is very important.
The lower the ratio the better it is for us.
The recommended ratio by WHO/FAO is
2:1 to 4:1. Common diet (USA) is 15:1 to 25:1, corn oil 58:1, sunflower oil 59:0,
Numerous research worldwide has been done on the benefits of Omega-3 for humans. The
connection was first observed in 1970’s.
It was found that Omega-3 fatty acids have
many benefits to the human health.
The following are some of the benefits.
Reduces the risk of coronary heart diseases.
Increases the effects of blood thinning medications (aspirin), regulates blood clotting, reduces platelet aggregation.
Decreases blood pressure, vasodilation.
lowering medications (Zocor)
(so called good cholesterol).
(so called bad cholesterol)
Reduces inflammation by blocking inflammation pathway.
(prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotriens etc.)
Macrophages are sensitive to the omega-3 antiinflammatory effects, therefore, IL-1 is reduced and inflammation is reduced.
Reduces rheumatoid arthritis.
Reduces inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease).
Improve lung function in adults with
Inflammation is associated with cancer, increases dysplasia (abnormal development).
Lower blood sugar, boost insulin, for
Decreases CRF (It reduces stress), also reduces inflammation, CRF stimulates IL-1 production.
Acts as antioxidant, reduces coronary heart diseases. Free radicals can damage the innermost layer of arteries. Can stimulate development of cancer. Causes inflammation.
Reduces Osteoporosis (the reduction in bone density), positive correlation between omega-3 and bone mineral density.
Reduces Allergies ( i.e. hay fever).
Reduces skin disorders.
Inhibits the growth of prostate cancer.
Reduction of breast cancer.
Improve symptoms of Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Reduces eating disorders Reduces depression.
Important for neurological development.
Protect against Alzheimer’s disease and
dementia, improve mental skills: thinking, making decision, reasoning.
Many neurological effects of Omega-3 is
because of its crucial part of cellular phospholipid membrane structure.
Omega-3 concentrations are the highest in the brain and nervous system.
Enhances integrity of brain cells.
Stimulates grey matter area.
Deficiency of omega-3 is associated with disfunction of neural membrane.
Necessary for optimal functioning of the neurons.
Obviously there are many benefits for OMEGA-3
However, exact mechanism is not really clear or known-Later.
OMEGA-6 FATTY ACIDS
The most common one is called linoleic acid (18:2 w-6), corn oil, peanuts.
Another one is called Arachidonic acid (20:4 w-6).
Omega-6 is healthy only in moderation.
Increases Increases Increases Increases Increases Increases
inflammation. blood pressure. triglycerides. cholesterol. risk of heart diseases. depression.
The most important message is that :
The ratio between Omega-6 and omega-3
is very crucial to our health.
It should not exceed 2:1 to 4:1.
Fatty fish (Tuna, Salmon, Mackerel).
Fish oil (Cod liver oil).
Canola oil, ratio 2:1.
Plant seeds (i.e. Flaxseeds, soybean, rapeseed,
kiwifruit seeds), walnuts.
OR Omega-3 enriched eggs.
These eggs are not a medication.
They are unique and healthy food especially
for those whom like to eat eggs.
One of the major goals of the study was to produce unique eggs that are enriched in Omega-3 fatty acid and have an appropriate ratio between Omega-6 and Omega-3.
Leghorn (LSL) hens (24 wks of age) were used in the present study.
One group was fed flaxseed and the other group served as a control.
Eggs were collected and lipid profile was determined.
Results Lipid Profile of Omega-3 and Standard Eggs after 8 weeks of feeding Parameter
% Total Fat
Omega-3 Eggs Standard Eggs
Amount of Linolenic acid ( mg)
Amount of DHA ( mg)
Total amount of omega-3 ( mg)
Amount of Linoleic acid (mg)
Amount of long chain omega-6 ( mg)
Total of omega-6 (mg)
Ratio of omega-6to omega-3
OMEGA-3 and IMMUNITY
Definition: Immunity is from immunis (Latin word) means EXEMPTION. * Exemption from diseases. * Defense against invading microorganisms. Types of Immunity: Innate Immunity. Non-Specific. No memory cells, same response. Immediate, first line of defense. Adaptive Immunity (Acquired). Specific. Memory cells involved. Both are not independent.
Anatomical (physical) barriers. Skin and mucous membranes, digestive system.
Phagocytic barriers. Epithelial cells are activated, and produce chemokines, stimulate macrophages.
Physiological barriers. Acidity of stomach
Adaptive Immunity: Humoral: Liquid, AB production. Cell-mediated: Cells. Cytokines: Regulate the immune response.
Lymphoid organs: Primary: Bursa of Fabricius (chickens), Thymus, cells only. Secondary: spleen, lymph nodes, cecal tonsils, harderian gland, etc, action of response.
Omega-3 and the Immune Response.
Omega-3 stimulates maturation of the immune
system. Has immune-modulating effect.
Plays a significant role in the functioning of the immune cells.
Improve lymphocyte response.
Omega-3 improves immunity in general.
Improves antibody production. Enhances antigen presentation by macrophages. Involved in activation and proliferation response of T-cells. Cytotoxic effect. Increase phagocytosis. Stimulates production of cytokines. Decrease the release of pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. Decreases autoimunne diseases. And more.
General Mechanism of Action:
Improves communication between cells, part of cell membrane composition. Signaling
mediators, prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotriens, provide an efficient way for cells to respond to various stimuli that requires a cellular response.
Enhances fluidity of plasma membrane, which is important for cell function.
Omega-3 modulates gene expression of a variety of gene coding for key regulatory proteins, cytokines.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for human health that includes improvement of the
They have to be provided in our diet.
Omega-3 eggs have an increased amount of Omega-3 and also have the desired Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio.
So eat eggs and be healthy and of course happy.
Am. J. Clin. Nutr. Clin. Cardiol. Nutr. Rev. Lancet Circulation NEJM
Clin. Dermatol. Cancer Res. Allergy. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. Atherosclerosis. Prostate.
It is important for brain development.
Transmitter of nerve impulses.
Impact depression, and others.
OMEGA-9 FATTY ACIDS
18:1 n-9 Monounsaturatd fatty acid. Not essential. Reduces cardiovascular diseases. Reduces plaque building. Increases HDL and lowers LDL. Olive oil, canola oil
Type Canola (rapeseed)
Saturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids
Polyunsaturated fatty acids Total poly
linolenic acid (ω-3)
Linoleic acid (ω-6)