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Fish oils could prevent gum disease

Tuesday November 2nd, 2010

Fish oils and other polyunsaturated fatty acids could hold the key to the treatment and prevention of gum disease, researchers say.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, in the USA, say the anti-inflammatory properties in the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may provide a cost-effective treatment.

Their study found that omega-3 oils, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) found in oily fish, were particularly successful.

In the November edition of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Asghar Naqvi, of the Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, says usual treatment involves mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application.

An effective dietary therapy might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of the common gum disease, he says.

“Given the evidence indicating a role for omega-3 fatty acids in other chronic inflammatory conditions, it is possible that treating periodontitis with omega-3 fatty acids could have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stroke as well,” writes Naqvi.

Researchers used data from 9,000 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 1999 and 2004 and found that dietary intake of the PUFAs DHA and EPA was associated with a decrease in gum disease. Another oil, linolenic acid, found in vegetables, did not show this association.

Of the study sample, 8.2 per cent had periodontitis; there was about a 20 per cent reduction in periodontitis prevalence in those who consumed the highest amount of dietary DHA.

An accompanying commentary by Professor Elizabeth Krall Kaye, of the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, said significantly reduced odds of periodontal disease were observed at relatively modest intakes of the fish related substances, DHA and EPA.

She said it was interesting the results were no different for fish oil supplements or for the taking of fish oil in the diet.

This report is published as researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Nutrition and Metabolism show that extra-virgin olive oil can protect the liver from oxidative stress.

Mohamed Hammami from the University of Monastir, Tunisia and King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, worked with a team of researchers to carry out the experiments in a group of 80 rats that were exposed to a moderately toxic herbicide known to deplete antioxidants and cause oxidative stress.

Rats fed on a diet containing the olive oil were partially protected from the resulting liver damage.

Article: “n-3 Fatty Acids and Periodontitis in US Adults” by Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS; Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH; Russell S. Phillips, MD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA.

Commentary: “n-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Periodontal Disease” by Elizabeth Krall Kaye, PhDBoth appear in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 11 (November 2010) published by Elsevier.

Effects of olive oil and its fractions on oxidative stress and the liver's fatty acid composition in 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid- treated rats Amel Nakbi, Wafa Tayeb, Abir Grissa, Manel Issaoui, Samia Dabbou, Issam Chargui, Meriem Ellouz, Abdelhedi Miled and Mohamed Hammami, Nutrition & Metabolism (in press).

Tags: Asia | Diet & Food | General Health | North America

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