WdiologonewMedical Report:  Fish Oil

Fish oil has long been lauded as a great source of heart-healthy fat and new research from Harvard University shows that it also helps the body reduce inflammation. The body converts an active ingredient found in fish oils, known as DHA, into a chemical called Resolvin D2.

Researchers studied the effects of this chemical on mice suffering from full-body inflammation and found that Resolvin D2 was able to dramatically reduce this inflammation and increase survival rate. Inflammation occurs when the body’s natural defenses against infections are mistakenly directed at healthy tissue. This means that in order to combat inflammation, most drugs currently used must also suppress the immune system , something that can be dangerous for patients whose bodies are already weakened by infection. In the study, they found that Resolvin D2 was not only a powerful anti- inflammatory, but it was able to reduce inflammation without affecting the immune system. Because of this, researchers feel that this active ingredient in fish oil has great potential as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.

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shmerlingHow inflammation from the infection plays a role.

By Robert Shmerling, M.D., Harvard Health Publications

Q: What joints other than the knee can be involved in arthritis symptoms from Lyme disease? Does the location of the tick bite have any connection with what joint is affected? Does Lyme-induced arthritis usually affect the knee because most people receive tick bites on the leg?

A: Just about any joint can be affected by Lyme arthritis. Although the knee is by far the most common, other commonly affected joints include the ankle, elbow and shoulder.

The location of the tick bite does not determine which joints are affected. In fact, most tick bites are not near the knee.

It’s thought that arthritis occurs in Lyme disease because the bacterium that causes Lyme disease (called B. burgdorferi) travels from the tick into the bloodstream and is deposited in the joint where the body’s immune response causes inflammation.

It’s not clear why the knee if the favored joint or why only one or a few joints are involved in most cases. It’s also unclear why up to 40% of people with untreated Lyme infection never get arthritis at all.

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