To this day, a specific cause for the development of most arthritic conditions has not been found. However, it is well known that all of these conditions will cause inflammation in the musculoskeletal system.
Fortunately, researchers have found specific treatments that assist in decreasing pain, inflammation and improve joint function. One of these treatments is fish oil, or more specifically the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.
Read on to find out why you should absolutely consider taking fish oil supplements to better manage your arthritis symptoms.
Fish Oil and Omega-3
The omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential nutrients. This means they are essential to human health and cannot be made in the body. For this particular reason they must be obtained from the food we eat. They play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development.
There are different types of omega-3 but the ones that are the most beneficial for joint health are the EPA and DHA. They can only be found in fatty fish.
Arthritis Research and Omega-3
Numerous studies have proven the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids and their many benefits for arthritic patients. They can inhibit the release of joint destroying chemicals, thus providing a protection against further damages.
A few randomized double controlled studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect for individuals who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and take fish oil supplements. In many of these studies, the patients were able to decrease the amount of medication they were using to control pain or inflammation.
More Health Benefits of Omega-3
Omega-3 are now being recommended to treat various conditions besides arthritis, due to their healing properties. Omega-3 fatty acids can:
- Decrease the inflammatory process throughout the body
- Reduce triglycerides (type of cholesterol)
- Lower blood pressure
- Protect against cardiovascular disease and strokes
- Reduce allergies, eczema
- Improve mood and cognitive functions
Fish Oil Supplements
The type of fish oil that is used to make the supplements is important. Research has found that salmon, mackerel, halibut, tuna and herring, all of which are cold water fish, produce the best omega-3 fatty acids to induce an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. Many researchers believe that you can’t get enough of the omega-3 fatty acids from diet alone and must use dietary supplementation.
Recommended dosage (for a minimum of 12 weeks):
- For rheumatoid arthritis: 2,5 to 3 g of EPA/DHA per day. Can be doubled in case of severe inflammation.
- For osteoarthritis or mild cases of RA: 1 to 2 g EPA/DHA daily.
Omega-3 supplements are easily found these days. Be cautious when buying these products, as low grade supplements may contain mercury and toxins.
Here is an example of an excellent fish oil supplement:
When choosing your supplement brand, try to look for the same qualities, which are:
- A high dosage of EPA/DHA
- No fishy aftertaste
- Made with purified, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil
- Guaranteed free of harmful Mercury, Dioxins, PCBs, and toxins
- Tested and certified by 3rd party labs to ensure purity and potency
- Comes from certified “Sustainable” fish oil source
Individuals who are on an anticoagulant therapy program will find that fish oil supplements increase their clotting times.
Pregnant women should be cautious when taking these supplements because of the danger of mercury poisoning to the baby.
As with all supplements that you may consider to take to reduce the pain and inflammation, you must consult with your physician first.
What About Omega-6?
Omega-6 are considered essential fatty acids. However, researchers have found that omega-6 increase the inflammatory process in the body. For this reason, doctors may recommend fish oil supplements that contain only omega-3 fatty acids and not flax seed oil which also contains omega-6.
Arthritis can be a seriously invalidating disease. But with the regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids, you can obtain natural arthritis pain relief as well as reduced inflammation and improved mobility. Since it is not always easy to get enough EPA and DHA omega-3 in your diet, fish oil supplements play a big role in the treatment of arthritis. Opt for quality when you buy your fish oil supplements; it is a health investment!
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