The production and activity of cytokines can also be influenced by a fish oil diet. Ingestion of 18 g of fish oil (MaxEPA capsules) per day in healthy volunteers was associated with lower interleukin-1 (IL-1) production in monocytes stimulated in vitro with endotoxin, a phenomenon probably mediated by LTBs. We have also noted a reduced pyrogenic effect with IL-1 infusion in animals fed fish oil.28 We have observed effects at many levels that reduce the degree of the inflammatory response when fish oil is the main lipid substrate.
Another stratagem for manipulation of eicosanoid synthesis is the use of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are 6 to 12 carbon atoms long. The prime source, coconut oil, is not a substrate in eicosanoid formation and thus offers an avenue for global reduction in AA-dependent inflammatory mediator synthesis. This fact is reflected in the lower AA content of membranes and lower eicosanoid production in coconut oil-fed animals.38 Compared to safflower oil (LCT)-fed animals, rats fed a diet enriched with coconut oil exhibit a diminished acute-phase response to endotoxin challenge.
The lower molecular weight and higher solubility of MCT also permit more rapid plasma clearance. This rapid removal may explain the absence of reticuloendothelial system (RES) dysfunction seen in MCT-fed patients.
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