Researchers have long known that fish oil can ease inflammation, a harmful immune process that worsens arthritis, contributes to heart disease and may be linked to cancer. But now they’ve found that this type of fat can do other things to keep you from getting sick.
A study at Michigan State University shows that fish oil pumps up the activity of white blood cells called B cells that help fight infection.
“Fish oil may have immune enhancing properties that could benefit immunocompromised individuals (like people with AIDS),” says Jenifer Fenton, a researcher involved in the study.
Laboratory examination of the blood of animals fed fish oil showed increased B cells and some antibodies. This action can keep you from falling ill; it intensifies immune responses that clear out dangerous germs. At the same time, fish oil may dampen the totality of the immune response and limit harmful inflammation.