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How fish oils protect us from heart disease

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The fish oils—the omega-3 fatty acids—are key for preventing heart disease, and now researchers have figured out how they protect us.

The fatty acids activate a receptor that stops inflammation in our blood vessels, which can lead to blocked arteries and cardiovascular disease.

The receptors, known as resolvins, switch off inflammatory processes that damage artery walls, but they stop functioning properly when atherosclerosis, or artery hardening, starts to develop.

Omega-3 create new resolvins, which reactivates the body’s natural healing processes, say researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The discovery puts the fatty acids centre stage in therapies to prevent, or even reverse, heart disease, the researchers say.

(Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2021; 131; doi: 10.1172/JCI142883)

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