Emblem for Skin Support - Eating Fresh Fish for Skin Health Module

Executive Summary

Regular consumption of fresh fatty fish can reduce systemic inflammation, improve lipid metabolism and enhance overall immune system stability; resulting in healthier sebum composition and reduced hypersensitivity.

Introduction

Fatty fish is one of the best sources of DHA and EPA fatty acids. These fatty acids are critical to healthy immune function and western diets are known to me severely deficient in these important fatty acids.

Fish highest in these essential fatty acids are [1]:

  • Pacific Hearing – 1.81g
  • Atlantic Hearing – 1.71g
  • Chinook Salmon – 1.48g
  • Atlantic Salmon – 0.9g to 1.83g
  • Sockeye Salmon – 0.68g
  • Rainbow Trout – 0.84g to 0.98g
  • White Tuna (canned) – 0.73

And the amounts displayed above are are total DHA + EPA per 3oz serving.

However, it must be noted that the above list should only be used as a general reference. Actual fatty acid composition of each individual fish varies and depends on a variety of factors such as season, the fishes diet and cooking method.

In addition to fish being an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids it’s also an excellent source of other nutrients, including protein, B vitamins, and a variety of minerals (potassium, phosphorous and selenium). All of which are know to be important in healthy skin function [2, 3].

Documented Benefits

Regular consumption of a diet high in omega 3 fatty acids (specifically the type obtained from fish) has been shown to produce a wide range of benefits [4, 5]:

  • Improved blood pressure and cardiac function
  • Improved arterial compliance and endothelial function (healthier blood vessels)
  • Improved vascular reactivity (more stable heart and blood pressure reaction to stimuli such as physical activity)
  • Improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control
  • Improved lipid and lipoprotein metabolism
  • Reduced neutrophil and monocyte cytokine formation
  • Potent antiplatelet effects
  • Potent anti-inflammatory effects

And this list is not even close to inclusive.

Why It’s Important for Inflammatory Skin Disease

Characteristics most important for individuals affected by inflammatory skin disorders:

  • Improved blood glucose control
  • Improved lipid metabolism (specifically increased ∆-6-desaturase availability) [6]
  • Reduced inflammation

Expected improvements:

  • Reduced skin sensitivity and inflammation
  • Improved sebum composition and barrier function

Ideas for Easier Integration

  • Dedicate certain days of the week to having fish for dinner or lunch
  • Stock up on fish during fishing season (summer months) when fish is freshest and least expensive; freezing individual portions for consumption throughout the winter

Additional Notes

  • This goal goes hand-in-hand with the reduced consumption of vegetables oils goal, as it is important to not only increase omega 3 intake, but also decrease omega 6 intake
  • ALA (omega 3 from plant sources) has to be converted by the body to EHA and DPA and this process is quite inefficient
  • Delta 4 and delta 6 desaturase enzymes (presumed to play an integral role in atopic dermatitis) prefer omega 3 fatty acids [7]. And a deficiency of EHA and DPA can theoretically be responsible for inadequate enzyme availability leading to insufficient conversion of omega 6 fatty acid (required for healthy skin)
  • Supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids has been shown be beneficial for a variety of inflammatory skin conditions which often overlap with seborrheic dermatitis; including psoriasis, acne, atopic dermatitis [8, 9, 10]

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