How Fats and Prostaglandins Help Reduce Inflammation

Fats play numerous important roles and are the building blocks for every cell membrane the body. Among other things, when functioning optimally, fats magically contribute to controlling inflammation through the formation of Prostaglandins.
Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances the body cannot do without. They occur in nearly all body tissues and fluids. They are formed (conjugated) from elongated forms of EFAs and are thought to be synthesized in the cells’ membranes. We talked all about healthy cell membrane formation in Fat Part 1.
So…. Optimal cell membrane formation miraculously contributes to reduced inflammation.
But how?

The Yin and Yang of Prostaglandins
Prostaglandins have 3 categories and theirs is a yin/yang relationship
In order to control inflammation, the body needs the ability to both inflame and anti-inflame. This is because the body first inflames before it anti-inflames. It’s the natural healing response of the body. Pretty amazing right!

There are three groups of prostaglandins that control the inflammation process

  • Anti-Inflammatory Prostaglandins: PG1 and PG3
  • Pro-Inflammatory Prostaglandins: PG2

This mighty army of prostaglandins (PG1, PG3 and PG2) need your help to do their job at preventing inflammation in your body. They need you include high quality fatty acids in your diet and AVOID the prostaglandin inhibitors.

  • Anti-Inflammatory: PG1 needs Omega 6 fats (Polyunsaturated)
  • Anti-Inflammatory: PG3 needs Omega 3 fats (Polyunsaturated)
  • Pro-Inflammatory: PG2 needs Saturated fats

Check out Fat Part 3 for a detailed list healthy fats to stock up on
The ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s in the diet should be approximately 1:1

So how do things go wrong? Inhibitors!

Remember that for your body to anti-inflame it must inflame first. It’s part of the healing process. Each of the PG1, PG2 and PG3s have inhibitors:

PG1 (Anti-Inflammatory) Inhibitors:

  • Trans Fatty Acids
  • Aspirin
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs such as Ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Alcohol
  • Steroids

PG2 (Inflammatory) Inhibitors:

  • Aspirin
  • NSAIDS (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs such as Ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • EPA
  • High Doses of Vitamin E
  • Bioflavonoids

PG3 (Anti-Inflammatory) Inhibitors:

  • Trans Fatty AcidsAspirin
  • NSAIDs (Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs such as Ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Alcohol
  • Steroids

Inflammation can be effectively managed with nutritional therapy,therefore reducing healing time.
Your army of prostaglandins will work very hard for you if you provide them with the necessary fatty acids and protect them from inhibitors. This will effectively manage your inflammation and speed up your recovery time.

To Your Good Health!

PS: Click here to read the whole 5-part fat series!


Cindy Hull
Hull Nutrition