By Richard Lenti
The benefits of fish oil have been touted for a variety of health conditions – including heart disease, stroke and arthritis. Now a new study suggests that a derivative of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), a main ingredient in fish oil, can relieve and prevent neuropathic pain.
The finding raises the possibility of developing a new pain medication that is non-addictive, effective at low doses, and has no apparent side effects.
Researchers at Duke University focused on a bioactive lipid produced by cells in response to external stimuli. The compound, known as neuroprotectin D1=protectin D1 (NPD1=PD1), is present in human white blood cells, and was first identified for its ability to reduce abdominal and brain inflammation.
“These compounds are derived from omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, but are 1,000 times more potent than their precursors in reducing inflammation,” said Ru-Rong Ji, professor of anesthesiology and neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center and principal investigator of the study. The results appear in the Annals of Neurology.
Using laboratory models of nerve injuries in mice, Ji and his team treated the animals with chemically-synthesized NPD1=PD1 to see if the lipid could relieve the pain symptoms associated with post-surgical nerve trauma.
Not only did the compound alleviate the pain, it also reduced nerve swelling from the injuries.
Read more at National Pain Report.
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