Dr. Maurizio Battino, director of the branch of the Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) in Italy, together with other researchers, is studying the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in the prevention of certain diseases.
ALA is a long-chain polyunsaturated elemental fatty acid of the Omega-3 series present in vegetables, mainly in the fatty part of oilseeds, nuts, berries, and legumes. This fat is basic to human survival and is not synthesized in the body, so it must be obtained through diet or supplements.
Several studies have shown that ALA has diverse biological effects, playing an essential role in the prevention of various diseases, such as cardiovascular pathologies, in the formation of atherosclerotic plaques, in the regulation of blood pressure. There are also vast studies that associate this fatty acid with the prevention of certain types of cancer; with the optimization of ailments caused by autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis; and the reduction of the risk of the appearance of certain phenomena related to inflammatory processes such as pneumonia.
In a recent investigation, Dr. Battino and a group of researchers reviewed studies on the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory effects of ALA in various pathological or physiological situations. The objective has been to understand the possible role of ALA in the prevention of an inflammatory, severe prooxidant, and immune imbalanced state such as that occurring with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The research demonstrated that ALA has beneficial effects on various pathophysiological situations in the inflammatory state by negatively regulating the secretion and expression of various cytokines, also related in the cytokine storm that occurs during SARS Cov-2 infection. In oxidative stress, by minimizing ROS levels in different prooxidant situations. In situations of immune response dysregulation, especially by minimizing macrophage cytokine secretion and increasing macrophage polarization towards an anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype.
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The Iberoamerican University Foundation (FUNIBER) promotes several programs in the field of Health and Nutrition, such as the International Master in Diet and Nutrition in collaboration with the Marche Polytechnic University.