Fish oils dramatically change gut bacteria for better health

Fish oils dramatically change gut bacteria for better health

In a new study from the University of Gothenburg, scientists have shown how fish oils seem to exert a healthy influence in our bodies, not just directly, but through the involvement of ‘good’ gut bacteria.

Fish oils have long been associated with heart and mental health, longevity and improving the outcome of cancer, even preventing it. For example, it is known that fish oils can have an effect on the telomeres at the ends of DNA chains. The length of telomeres is associated with ageing. Another benefit is their ability to reduce the risk of cachexia, which is caused by taking chemotherapy drugs.

But a major health benefit is their ability to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is invariably the precursor to chronic illness.

One mechanism is their direct ability to down-regulate an enzyme called Cox-2 known to stimulate localized cellular inflammatory hormones called eicosanoids made in the nuclear envelope of every cell in the body.

However, new research showed that whereas the consumption of bad fats can produce a microbiome over-populated by gut bacteria that are inflationary, the consumption of fish oils produces colonies of anti-inflammatory gut bacteria. Feeding animals with a high fat diet, or a fish oil diet resulted in significantly different gut bacteria and fish oils clearly promoted health by stimulating bacteria that made anti-inflammatory compounds.

We have long recommended that almost everybody from the young to the old, should take a daily fish oil supplement.