Health benefits omega 3 supplemention offers for skin

One of the best health benefits omega 3 fish oil has to offer is in skin care. The name of the game in skin care is simple: reduce sun exposure so you can reduce inflammation. But at the end of the day, inflammation is what brings on the wrinkles. On a basic level, fish oil steps right in the middle of that equation, reducing the inflammatory response to the sun.

When skin cells are exposed to an excess of UVB radiation, they send out signaling molecules called cytokines. These signals marshal up an entire inflammatory response, resulting in redness, swelling, pain, and even cell death (i.e. peeling). The long-term problem for your skin is that the collagen support structure gets chewed up during that process, leading to sagging and wrinkles.

A series of studies using cultured skin cells measured specific cytokine responses to UV radiation. Consistently, EPA and DHA reduce the inflammatory response to UV radiation (1,2). The cell culture studies are in agreement with a supplementation trial in Liverpool, England in 1994 (3). In this study, volunteers were supplemented with fish oil for 6 months. The results were quite significant: the minimum amount of UV energy required to induce redness more than doubled, and then sank back to normal levels 3 months after the trial completed.

The data show two reasons for these "edible sunscreen" health benefits omega 3 supplements offer. First, a shift in the balance of fatty acids away from pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid to EPA/DHA reduces the inflammatory potential in the skin (1). Second, EPA and DHA are preferentially oxidized in the skin. This way, other, more important structures are saved from trouble. And this effect feeds back on inflammation, because oxidative stress is a major player causing the inflammation response in the first place.

Skin health benefits omega 3 supplements offer derive from anti-inflammatory properties

The health benefits omega 3 afford to the skin are among the most scientifically sound for all supplements: omega-3 fatty acids reduce your skin's sensitivity to sun. At a molecular level, these compounds are acting as sunscreen that you eat.

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1. Storey, A, McArdle, F, Friedmann, PS, et al. "EPA and DHA reduce UVB- and TNF-alpha-induced IL-8 secretion in keratinocytes and UVB-induced IL-8 in fibroblasts." J Invest Derm 124 (2005) 248-55.
2. Pupe, A, Moison, R, De Haes, P, et al. "EPA, a n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid differentially modulates TNF-alpha, IL-1alpha, IL-6, and PGE-2 expression in UVB-irradiated human keratinocytes." J Invest Derm 118 (2002) 692-698.
3. Rhodes, LE, O'Farrell, S, Jackson, MJ, Friedmann, PS. "Dietary fish-oil supplementation in humans reduces UVB-erthemal sensitivity but increases epidermal lipid peroxidation." J Invest Derm. 103 (1994) 151-4.