Omega-3, chronic and inflammatory diseases in obese adolescents

  • 10/11/2013

Obesity is an important risk factor for developing various chronic diseases: hypertension, cancer, asthma and metabolic syndrome. Low-level chronic systemic inflammation is characteristic of obesity and may explain the link between this and chronic disease, particularly the increased incidence, prevalence and severity of asthma in obese individuals. There is evidence of immune and inflammatory cell infiltration in adipose tissue, which produces systemic inflammation (and subsequent organ damage).

Obese children and adolescents have to face discrimination and stigma often leading to discontent with their own body, low self-esteem and depression. Compared to adolescents with normal weight, obese adolescents have low serum concentrations of omega-3 and high anti-inflammatory activity and endothelial dysfunction. In a double-blind crossover study, a group of obese adolescents received 1.2 g capsules of Omega-3 or placebo daily for three months (two 3-month periods with a 6-week period without treatment between the end of the first period and the start of the second, to ensure all the omega-3 was eliminated from the body). Daily omega-3 supplementation increased its serum concentration, improved vascular function and reduced the degree of inflammation (improved reactive hyperaemia and reduced levels of lymphocytes, monocytes, tumour necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α], interleukin 6 [IL-6] e interleukin 1β[IL-1β]; p<0.01).

Published in Periyalil HA, Gibson PG, Wood LG. Immunometabolism in obese asthmatics: are we there yet? Nutrients. 2013 Sep 10;5(9):3506-3530.