Docosahexaenoic acid, inflammation, and bacterial dysbiosis in relation to periodontal disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and the metabolic syndrome

Nutrients. 2013 Aug 19;5(8):3299-310. doi: 10.3390/nu5083299.


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, has been used to treat a range of different conditions, including periodontal disease (PD) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). That DHA helps with these oral and gastrointestinal diseases in which inflammation and bacterial dysbiosis play key roles, raises the question of whether DHA may assist in the prevention or treatment of other inflammatory conditions, such as the metabolic syndrome, which have also been linked with inflammation and alterations in normal host microbial populations. Here we review established and investigated associations between DHA, PD, and IBD. We conclude that by beneficially altering cytokine production and macrophage recruitment, the composition of intestinal microbiota and intestinal integrity, lipopolysaccharide- and adipose-induced inflammation, and insulin signaling, DHA may be a key tool in the prevention of metabolic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Dysbiosis / drug therapy*
  • Dysbiosis / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / adverse effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Metabolic Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Periodontal Diseases / drug therapy*


  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids