Foods and Drugs in the Management of Disease: A Case Study Comparing Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Aspirin for Inflammation

Author(s): Jean-Michel Antoine.

Journal Name:Current Pediatric Reviews

Volume 8 , Issue 3 , 2012

Abstract:

Inflammation is a key factor of many diseases including obesity. It is a physiological component of the gut barrier. Many drugs target inflammation, and some foods are traditionally classified as either hot or cold. The rising question is whether food and drugs are acting on the same biological target(s), or not? More challenging, is whether physiology and pathology are regulated through the same mechanism(s)? The example of inflammation is used to explore this challenge. Inflammation can be assessed by 1) clinical symptoms, 2) a set of biological blood parameters, or 3) at the molecular cell level with the COX enzymes’ activation. There is ample literature to compare the efficacy of the food ingredient omega-3 fatty acids, and the drug, acetylsalicylic acid, on the three levels: clinical, biological and molecular. Both are active on the four classical symptoms of inflammation, but aspirin is active on a broader range of related diseases, and acts faster than omega-3. Some biological mediators are decreased by both products, but not all of them and data are missing to make a full assessment of all the parameters for both products. Both target the COX enzymes, but aspirin is active on the inducible and non-inducible parts of COX, whereas omega-3 is active only against the inducible part. In this example the food ingredient is different from the selected drug. It is worthwhile to expand this kind of assessment for a more comprehensive view on the differences between foods and drugs.

Keywords: Aspirin, functional food, inflammation, omega-3, health, mechanisms of action

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Article Details

VOLUME: 8
ISSUE: 3
Year: 2012
Page: [204 - 207]
Pages: 4
DOI: 10.2174/157339612802139398
Price: $58