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If you follow medical news or are a regular customer of omega-3 supplements, you may have heard about an omega that is quickly rising in popularity for its rapid work in reducing joint pain and inflammation. This ‘mega-omega’ is called ETA, and here’s everything you need to know about it.

First things first. What is ETA?

ETA stands for eicosatetraenoic acid. Eicosatetraenoic acid designates any straight chain 20:4 fatty acid. This sounds quite technical, we know, but is important because it signifies the omega’s efficiency. It is found in green-lipped mussel oil such as that used in GLX3. To bring even more science talk to the table, ETA acts as a dual inhibitor of arachidonic acid oxygenation by both lipoxygenase and the cyclooxygenase (COX) pathway. It is a long-chain omega-3 molecule that can be converted into 2 novel compounds associated with inflammation management.

Like other omega-3s, ETA is not only anti-inflammatory, but it can also restrict your body’s release of one of the root causes of your pain — the inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid known as arachidonic acid (ARA). In fact, ETA redirects the enzyme that normally creates ARA to convert it to EPA instead, in a sort of full-circle cycle of anti-inflammatory awesomeness.

How does ETA help to reduce joint pain and inflammation?

ETA content is usually not fully identified in human tissue. The reason for this is its low abundance. But with the emerging (SDA)- comprising of dietary oils like Buglossoides oil and Echium, measurable quantities of ETA in human erythrocytes, leukocytes and plasma are estimated after as little as two to four weeks of dietary supplementation (with a product such as GLX3) as a result of SDA elongation. So, if you started taking GLX3 today, you could be reaping the benefit of increased ETA as soon as next month.

Hence, natural LTB4 (Leukotriene B4 is a leukotriene involved in inflammation) receptor antagonists like ∆17-8, 15–diHETE (diHETE is a double oxidation product of arachidonic acid) may be produced at inflammatory sites when stearidonic acid is used as supplementation in the diet and could benefit people with inflammatory diseases.

ETA possess pro-solving or anti-inflammatory activities analogous to the well-described EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DPA (Docosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) – derived resolvins, protectins, and maresins. These resolvins, protectins and maresins products of dual lipoxygenase activities and it is also reported that ETA (Eicosatetraenoic acid) is also a substrate for the generation of such metabolites.

ETA (Eicosatetraenoic acid) – a new kid on the block of omega chain

ETA (Eicosatetraenoic acid) and its precursor SDA (Stearidonic acid). These Omega-3 fatty acids are rare in nature. Both of these omega-3s fatty acids have some degree of “pathway inhibitory action” causing blockage of short-term pain and inflammation in the prostanoids (from COX -2) and the long-term immune attacks that are the alarming signs of the leukotrienes (from LOX).

These actions are based on several features of the body processing of fatty acids, actions of enzymes and their impacts on a group of local and cellular hormones know as eicosanoids COX -2 inhibitors help in accelerating the inflammation in the long-term by diversion of arachidonic acid into another, slow acting and ultimately more destruction causing pathway; the lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway, that releases the ravaging series-4 leukotrienes.

Research has shown that ETA is found exclusively in the Green-Lipped Mussel blocks both the COX-2 and LOX inflammatory pathways simultaneously and minimizes inflammation more effectively in comparison to other Omega-3s and NSAID’s without causing harm to guts and kidneys. Mussels serve as a controlling mechanism for leukotriene – amino acid involved in the regulation of immune responses like the histamine and in inflammation.

ETA exclusively found in New Zealand’s Green Lipped Mussels offers unique anti-inflammatory benefits to the COX and LOX pathways, which you’ll feel by way of reduced joint pain and inflammation. One of the biggest disadvantages of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and other COX pathway blockers is that they inhibit the COX 1 pathway that is responsible for maintaining moisture levels in the body’s mucus membranes (both the colon and sinuses). You actually need this mucus to stay healthy, and ETA can help ensure you are getting it. If you aren’t, this can result in symptoms like constipation, frequent nosebleeds, and even dehydration.
ETA and lipids in Green Lipped Mussels do not inhibit the COX 1 pathway, and hence they help in reducing inflammation and pain without any painful side effects that are caused by other sources of Omega-3 sources.