Is it possible to reduce abnormal NK cell activity?


Just curious if anyone has heard if it is possible to reduce abnormal natural killer cell activity via diet or anything else, prior to Intralipids or ivig… My primary doc recommended switching to a gluten free diet and eliminating dairy, soy, and HFCS. She also said something about using turmeric. Has anyone else heard of this helping?


Higher doses of fish oil seems to have a similar effect on NK activity as intralipids when taken for at least 3 months.

Here is part of a document that can be found on the immunologysupport yahoo group.

immunologysupport : Reproductive Immunology Support

Disclaimer: This document has been put together by patients not by doctors. Information contained in this document to be used as a general guide only, not to be taken as medical advice. Please consult with your physician before undergoing any form of medical treatment.


I. What is fish oil?
II. Why do Reproductive Immunology patients take fish oil?
III. How much fish oil should I take?
IV. Can I just eat fish?
V. Can flaxseed oil substitute for fish oil?
VI. Why should I take vitamin E with my fish oil?
VII. Is fish oil safe in pregnancy?
VIII. Contaminant safe fish oil brands

I. What is Fish Oil?

Fish oil is an Omega-3 fatty acid containing docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). High ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids have been shown to reduce the severity of many inflammatory processes.

II. Why do Reproductive Immunology patients take Fish Oil?

A few of fish oil’s cited benefits for Reproductive Immunology patients:

  1. Decreases Natural Killer cell activity
  2. Improves neural and cognitive development of the fetus in utero
  3. Reduces risk of preterm delivery
  4. Improves baby’s birth weight
  5. Reduces risk of pre-eclampsia
  6. Reduces miscarriage risk in +APA patients
  7. Possibly improves the quality of cycles
  8. Possibly improves fertility
  9. Reduces incidence of gestational diabetes
  10. While breast feeding, dietary fish oil increases DHA content in
    breast milk which can increase baby’s IQ (in fact, many baby formulas
    now adding DHA)
  11. Possibly increases serotonin levels
  12. Lowers insulin levels
  13. Reduces the incidence of depression
  14. Inexpensive
  15. Over-the-counter
  16. Recommended by many Reproductive Immunologists

Here are some side effects reported from Reproductive Immunology patients:

  1. Increased lining development/increased menstrual flow
  2. Increased egg white cervical mucus at ovulation
  3. “Stronger” ovulations (more definitive symptoms/more ovulation
  4. Reduction of NK activity and number on the NK assay (some say
  5. Increased fertility (ie. “surprise” pregnancies)

III. How much fish oil should I take?

Actually there is no known “best ” fish oil dose to take for Reproductive Immunology patients. Research still ongoing in this area. A conservative protocol is 1- 2g (capsules) a day, however some patients seem to benefit from higher doses than this. One Oxford University NK study done in 2001 showed that 720 mg daily EPA daily can reduce NK activity by 48%. Most fish oil brands contain 180mg EPA per capsule, so 720mg EPA would equal about 4 “over-the-counter” one gram fish oil capsules a day. Dr. Barry Sears, a leading fish oil proponent, recommends 5g pharmaceutical grade (purer quality) fish oil a day for fertility purposes. (See references below). Please note optimal dose may depend on EPA concentration of the particular brand that you use.
Note: Some studies have shown that maximal effect of fish oil begins after 4 to 12 weeks so it may be best to start fish oil several weeks preconception.
Also note: Some patents have reported gassiness and diarrhea when taking the higher doses of fish oil. It is recommended that patients start with a low dose of fish oil and build higher doses gradually to determine what they can tolerate. Gastrointestinal side effects are less common with the higher quality brands.

(see group files under “Fish oil studies”…ysupport/files/ )

IV. Can I just eat fish?

Fish oil supplements are preferred over fish because some fish can contain high levels of mercury, dioxins and PCB’s. Fish on the higher end of the food chain such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, tuna, sea bass, marlin, halibut, pike, walleye, white croaker, largemouth bass,are to be avoided. Species on the lower end of the food chain are preferred: summer flounder, wild Pacific salmon, croaker, mid-Atlantic blue crab, haddock. Removing skin and extra fat can also reduce PCB exposure. (Health Magazine’s Sept 2001 edition). When calculating the fatty acid value of fish, know that 2-4g of standard fish oil a day is equivalent to eating about 2 servings cold water, fatty fish a week.

V. Can flaxseed oil substitute for fish oil?

Many people ask if flaxseed (or linseed oil), a plant derived Omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha-linolenic acid or “ALA”) can substitute for the fish oil. Though flaxseed oil does have some beneficial effects, it is not as efficiently converted to the EPA and DHA as the fish oil. As the “active” components of fish oil are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), this lack of conversion is a major drawback with the flaxseed oil.
Only about about 0.2 per cent of one gram of ALA (2 mg) is actually converted to EPA. And the conversion of flaxseed oil to DHA in vegans (strict vegetarians) is negligible. So if given the choice between taking flaxseed oil and fish oil for NK control, fish oil is generally preferred. (See references below)

VI. Why should I take vitamin E with my fish oil?

There are three reasons patients should take vitamin E with their fish oil:

  1. Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant, so helps to balance fish oil’s oxidizing effect.

  2. Vitamin E may actually contribute to fish oil’s immune
    modulating effect. So the vitamin E/fish oil combination may possibly
    help balance the immune system better than the fish oil taken alone.

  3. Vitamin E has been shown to have beneficial effects on pregnancy independent of the fish oil (see references below)

As for dose, 100 I.U to 400 I.U per day is recommended . The natural d-alpha tocopherol form of vitamin E is preferred over the synthetic dl-alpha tocopherol form. The natural form better absorbed by the body.

Also note: Many prenatal vitamins already contain some vitamin E as do many fish oil brands. Please include all sources when calculating your daily intake.

VII. Is fish oil safe in pregnancy?

Not only is fish oil safe to take in pregnancy, it may actually be very healthful,
for both mother and baby. Studies have shown that fish oil reduces the incidence of pre–eclampsia and actually helps the baby’s neurological development. Many baby formula companies are actually adding DHA, an element of fish oil, into US baby formulas now. (See references)

Among the benefits of fish oil in pregnancy:

  1. Improves baby’s neurological development
  2. Helps prevent preterm labor
  3. Reduces incidence of pre-eclampsia
  4. Possibly reduces the miscarriage rate in +APA patients

However despite its beneficial effects in pregnancy, fish oil may have some safety issues:

  1. Some fish oils are contaminated with mercury and pesticide residues such as PCB’s and dioxin. Be sure to only buy that fish oil has been independently tested to be mercury PCB and dioxin safe. A list of safe brands is listed below.

  2. Be sure only the label says “fish body oil” is not “fish liver oil”. Fish liver contains Vitamin A which can be toxic in large quantities.

  3. Fish oil has a mild anticoagulant effect so if taking fish oil with blood thinners, confirm with your doctor that the dose you are taking is safe with your other medications. According to Dr. Barry Sears, 1 g of fish oil has the anticoagulant effect of one sixteenth (1/16) of a full strength aspirin pill. Some clinical studies have found no significant increase in bleeding times at a constant level of 10 grams of omega-3 fats per day (see Dr.Barry Sears’ ABC interview below).

  4. Farmed fish have a higher arachidonic acid to EPA ratio than wild fish due to soybean oil in the diet, and therefore are not as medically beneficial as wild fish. Also there have been reports that European fish farms have high levels of run-off contaminants. Therefore fish oil derived from wild fish is preferred…

  5. Occasionally patients have reported diarrhea and other gastrointestinal upset when taking high doses of fish oil. It is recommended that patients start with a low dose and build up to a higher dose gradually to determine how well their digestive system can tolerate the fish oil. Higher grade, purer fish oils tend to cause less of these gastrointestinal side effects.

VIII. Contaminant safe fish oil brands

Some Mercury, dioxin and PCB safe fish oil brands:

  1. Eskimo-3 (recommended)
    Omega 3 Fish Oil (Mercury Free) (capsule form)
    Eskimo-3 Liquid Fish Oil (liquid form)
  2. Nordic Naturals (no fish oil “burps”)
    NORDIC NATURALS : : Committed to Delivering the World’s Safest, Most Effective Omega Oils
  3. Carlson’s (can cause fish oil “ burps”)…on-fish-oil-200
  4. Dr Barry Sears’ OmegaRx (can cause fish oil “burps”) (purchase directly from Dr Sear’s website)
  5. Biodesign
  6. Gaines Nutrition Omega-3
    Omega-3 Fish Oil, Lemon (7 ounces) (Mfr: Longevity Science/Klabin Marketing) (Professional quality product)
  7. Ultra Pure…ecific=jnqqfnp0
  8. Biomarine…ne_fish_oil.php
  9. O3mega
  10. Nature’s Mighty 3’s
  11. NutriCare
  12. Health from the Sun
    Welcome MotherNature!
  13. NutriVene D
  14. Spectrum Essentials Norwegian Fish Oil…03255&bt=brands
  15. Biocare Mega EPA 1000 daily (possibly contaminant safe?)


Thank you! I went to Whole Foods the other day and got a raw prenatal vitamin and fish oil in liquid form (which really isn’t bad!), as well as a few other “anti-inflammatory” vitamins. Their employee was a wealth of knowledge. It felt like I was talking to an awesome vegan version of my grandma, lol. I also got COQ10 with ubiquitol and turmeric, and vitamin D drops.

I’m so glad you posted this! Thanks!


Dq alpha is just a chapter in a need to test complete HLA matches.also, why immediately to go for ds or surrogate.your issues can be addressed.go to dr. Braverman’s website and can have 10 min skype for free.


[QUOTE=cosmopolitan4112008]Dq alpha is just a chapter in a need to test complete HLA matches.also, why immediately to go for ds or surrogate.your issues can be addressed.go to dr. Braverman’s website and can have 10 min skype for free.[/QUOTE]
I understand DQ is just a chapter in a story. DH is a complete DQ Alpha match baby, so I know it’s possible, but we also have activated NK cells, and low AMH. We had the full panel done, so I will look into the HLA. Thanks.

We have a partial match on each of HLA-A, HLA-C, and HLA-DRB1 as well. The only one that is completely different is the HLA-B! Crazy.


Im sure you know but just in case: intralipid for nk cells.also start taking omega 3 fish oil. Hla matches-neupogen


[QUOTE=cosmopolitan4112008]Im sure you know but just in case: intralipid for nk cells.also start taking omega 3 fish oil. Hla matches-neupogen

Yes, my RE is doing intralipids on 7/5, but I wanted to see if there was any other supplements or diet changes I could make. I’ve never heard of neupogen.

How do HLA matches affect fertility? My RE seemed to put the emphasis on our DQ Alpha and NK cells, and didn’t mention the HLA, that I can remember. Now I’m curious about the HLA matches…

How bad is this?

DQ Alpha–1.1,1.2----------------------1.2,1.2
DQ Beta—05,06------------------------06,06

Stupid Question: Does this mean that we have some distant ancestors in common? LOL. I read that siblings have a 1 in 5 chances of HLA matching, but does that mean a complete match, or partial?