Researchers at the University of Moncton in New Brunswick have reported a new anti-inflammatory role for an omega-3 fatty acid rarely found in Western dietary sources: Eicosatetraenoic acid, or ETA. Many of us are familiar with popular omega-3 derivatives EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These essential fatty acids influence major inflammatory pathways by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules (cytokines) and preventing certain actions of leucocytes (white blood cells). They can also give rise to mediators that can alter the intensity and duration of inflammation.
In this most recent study, researchers have demonstrated the significant anti-inflammatory effects of ETA, using plant-sourced Ahiflower oil and Echium oil. Both of these plant oils are rich sources of SDA (Stearidonic acid), the pre-cursor to ETA. SDA, however, requires an enzyme produced by the body to transform it into ETA. To confirm conversion after ingestion, subjects treated with Ahiflower or Echium oil did show higher plasma levels of ETA.
Previous research at the University of Glasgow and in Australia have also reported on ETA’s anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing properties and its potential as a supplement in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, are typically marine-sourced, which has been a cause for concern from the perspective of sustainability and potential toxin burden. Dietary sources of ETA are scarce in the western world. However, ETA is found in high concentrations in the green-lipped mussel, which is the active ingredient in AOR’s Green Lipped FFA. This stable fatty acid extract has been tested in human trials and was found to improve stiffness and joint tenderness in up to 70% of participating osteoarthritis sufferers.
Unlike that derived from plant sources, the ETA in Green Lipped FFA is already in its active form and doesn’t need to be converted from SDA, a benefit that may be helpful if, for example, the person taking it doesn’t produce enough of the required converting enzyme.
AOR’s GreenLipped FFA contains green-lipped mussels, sourced from New Zealand, that have achieved sustainable, eco-best choice and MFA Environmentally Certified, as well as having been tested and determined free of solvents and other microbial or heavy metal contamination and BSE-TSE. Although AOR has been ahead of this curve for over a decade, this new research spotlights how this overlooked omega-3 compound may soon be considered a staple in anti-inflammatory protocols, much like EPA and DHA, but with fewer concerns around sustainability.
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