Why you can trust Nutri Advanced  Every article on our site is researched thoroughly by our team of highly qualified nutritionists. Find out more about our editorial process.

The clinical applications of omega-3 have been researched and discussed for many years now. So much so that that they have become an automatic part of a healthy living programme. Despite this there are times of the year, such as the winter months, that people may forget that omega-3 can also be essential to support the immune system.

The clinical applications of omega-3 for immune disorders are vast and have been investigated for decades. In a recent review in the Journal of Molecular Sciences, published in October 2019, the authors reviewed this research in detail and confirmed the importance of the role of omega-3 fatty acids in the functioning of the immune system. The review considers the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on many immune cells including: macrophages, cytokines, neutrophil function, T cells (including T regulatory cells), B cells, dendritic cells, natural killer cells, mast cells, basophils and eosinophils.

As a constitutive part of the cellular membranes, omega-3 fatty acids can regulate cellular membrane properties such as membrane fluidity or complex assembly in lipid rafts. This, by itself, is not particularly new information. However, more recently a new role for omega-3 fatty acids and their derivatives as signaling molecules has emerged. It is thought that this could be due to disruption of pro-inflammatory cascades, by altering cell signaling, cytokines and pro-inflammatory mediators.

Interestingly, some specific immune functions are promoted by dietary omega-3 fatty acids in specific immune cell types, e.g. phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils or T-reg differentiation, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids do not act as unspecific immune-repressors.

Together, this means that maintaining omega-3 saturation is a year round priority to ensure that optimal immune function is achieved.

1. Gutiérrez, S.; Svahn, S.L.; Johansson, M.E. Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Immune Cells. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 201920, 5028.

This website and its content is copyright of Nutri Advanced ©. All rights reserved. See our terms & conditions for more detail.

Nutri Advanced has a thorough research process and for any references included, each source is scrutinised beforehand. We aim to use the highest value source where possible, referencing peer-reviewed journals and official guidelines in the first instance before alternatives. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate at time of publication on our editorial policy.