Concluding Remarks

Omega-3 fatty acids have long been recognized as beneficial foodstuff, but their actions are complex and thus poorly understood. There is now a resurgence of interest in omega-3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, among basic scientists and clinicians. DHA is being used in a variety of forms, from dietary supplements to novel drug conjugates, to benefit an extensive and varied series of conditions, including normal vision and neurologic development, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and cancer. The emerging literature suggests a diversity of mechanisms of action for DHA: modulation of eicosanoid hormone production, generation of free radicals, regulation of gene expression, and the fundamental actions of DHA on membrane structure and function. It is the current state of the art, however, that the physiological and even cellular processes affected by DHA are not clearly connected to a single action of DHA, and thus there is urgent need for the interdisciplinary research that will link the "what," "how," "when," and "for whom" at the molecular, cellular, and organismal levels.

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