Acute inflammation is a normal response of the body’s immune system in reaction to pathogens or injury.
However, chronic low-grade inflammation is negatively associated with inflammatory processes that last longer and often trigger the onset of different diseases.
Chronic low-grade inflammation is usually caused by recurrent episodes of acute inflammation, autoimmune responses, and environmental factors.
The microorganism balance in the gut microbiota is considered to have a major effect on chronic low-grade inflammation.
The gut modulates the responses of the immune system and each instance of dysregulation negatively impacts general health.
Certain nutrients, such as probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids are believed to be able to increase bacterial diversity in the gut and reduce inflammation.
A new literature review published in the journal Nutrients discusses the beneficial effects of probiotics and omega-3s on the gut when taken together.
Many factors affect the diversity of the gut microbiota.
In childhood, it depends on early bacterial exposure, meaning that the body needs exposure to certain bacteria in order for the immune system to build resilience.
In adulthood, gut diversity depends mainly on long-term dietary habits, antibiotic use, physical activity, and emotional stress.
It’s also worth mentioning the gut-brain axis.
The gut metabolizes consumed nutrients into compounds such as short-chain fatty acids and neurotransmitters which interact with the immune system and affect brain function.
Dysregulation of the gut-brain axis could lead to neuroinflammation resulting in different neurological disorders.
Probiotics directly influence the composition of the gut microbiota by increasing the number of good bacteria, while dietary fiber and prebiotics encourage their growth.
The gut has a very rich bacterial profile, among which the probiotic strains Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most significant and health-promoting strains.
Omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are also very beneficial for their ability to reduce inflammation.
They’re considered to be especially helpful for obesity-related inflammation, but also for diabetes and hypertriglyceridemia.
There has been more and more evidence that the combined intake of probiotics and omega-3s can be much more effective than taking either supplement alone.
Even though the mechanism behind it is not very well understood yet, omega-3s seem to interact with the gut bacteria.
In addition, omega-3s and the gut share routes in the modulation of the immune system.
According to this review, the evidence that taking probiotics and omega-3 supplements together could reduce chronic low-grade inflammation is growing.
Considering the immense health benefits of both supplements separately, it doesn’t seem very far fetched that together they would work even better.
Of course, more studies are needed to confirm this hypothesis.
Resource: Hutchinson, A.N.; Tingö, L.; Brummer, R.J. The Potential Effects of Probiotics and ω-3 Fatty Acids on Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2402. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12082402