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Researchers at university of Moncton in New Brunswick have reported in the scientific journal Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids that a new long chain fatty acid called ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid) which comes from the same stable as the other more popular Omega 3 fatty acids- EPA and DHA which are commonly found in fish oils as well as the non-marine algae source has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

The researchers reported that study subjects supplementing with high levels of Ahiflower and/or Echium oils achieved high plasma levels of ETA. However, these oils which typically contain stearidonic acid (SDA) must first be converted into ETA by the action of the enzyme 5-Lipoxygenase. This same enzyme then converts ETA further into two new actives Δ17-8-HETE and Δ17-8,15-diHETE. Both these metabolites may possess powerful anti-inflammatory activities similar to the well described EPA, DPA and DHA. These latter compounds may be released at inflammatory and could benefit in individuals with inflammatory diseases especially those with chronic low grade inflammation.

However, ETA is commonly found in even higher concentrations in green-lipped mussel a marine source from New Zealand green-lipped mussel. Researchers in the UK at Glasgow university and later in Australia reported that ETA has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and could be a useful supplement in arthritis as well as other inflammatory conditions like asthma as well as exerting a powerful immune enhancing and modulating effects.

The advantage of using green-lipped mussel is that the ETA is already present in the active form of ETA and does not need conversion by the 5-Lipoxygenase enzyme unlike in Ahi flower or Echium oil that the researchers reported.

Regardless, this research is timely and provides non-marine options for an ETA source.