Credit: © bookzaa / Fotolia

Credit: © bookzaa / Fotolia

Fish oil protects eye cells from injury and disease

Fish oil protects eye cells from injury and disease, according to new research from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

The LSU team scientists found that a component of fish oil not only protects vision cells from disease, but also from injuries and disease that could happen in the future.

The study showed that the omega-3 fatty acid called DHA “precondition” cells to survive.

Our findings support the proposed concept that DHA and docosanoids (molecules made in the brain at the onset of injury or disease) are responsible for activating sustained cellular mechanisms that elicit long-term preconditioning protection,” says Nicolas Bazan, MD, PhD, Boyd Professor and Director of LSU Health New Orleans Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

The researchers explain more about preconditioning:

Preconditioning takes place when, for example, the blood supply to an organ is interrupted for a short time and then reestablished. The protective response from that first injury would carry over to a subsequent blood supply shortage, much like the immunity a vaccine confers against future exposures to disease.

This happens in the heart, brain and retina, as well as other organs,” Dr. Bazan says. “To harness the therapeutic potential of preconditioning, it is very important to identify the molecules directly involved.”

Our findings demonstrate that DHA and the induction of docosanoid synthesis is necessary for preconditioning protection, and thus daily survival, of photoreceptor and RPE cells,” adds Bazan. “Since omega-3 impairments are associated with neuroinflammation, which contributes to photoreceptor cell dysfunction and death, enhancing the synthesis of docosanoids may provide an opportunity for halting or ameliorating debilitating retinal degenerative diseases, such as the dry form of age-related macular degeneration,” concludes Bazan.

Some great sources of omega-3s are fish oil, salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, eggs, and sardines.

The study showing that fish oil protects eye cells from injury and disease was published in the journal Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology. 

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only. 

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1. “Fish Oil Component Preconditions Vision Cells to Survive Future Injury Or Disease.” LSU Health New Orleans, LSU Health New Orleans, Oil Component Preconditions Vision Cells to Survive Future Injury Or Disease.html.

2. “Retinal Pigment Epithelium and Photoreceptor Preconditioning Protection Requires Docosanoid Signaling.” SpringerLink, Springer US, 24 Nov. 2017,
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