Studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and popular supplements to be a potential treatment for arthritis symptoms.
The Arthritis Foundation said
there are many claims that omega-3s treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis, depression, and other serious conditions. But while research has shown positive potential for future treatments, it is not a cure for arthritis.
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However, the omega-3 fatty acids, which contain EPA and DHA, have been shown in studies to "significantly reduce joint tenderness sand stiffness in RA (rheumatoid arthritis) patients and reduced or eliminated NSAID use," the Foundation said. Many arthritis sufferers take NSAIDs, pain killers that can also have troubling side effects.
In addition to affecting symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, preliminary studies found omega-3 fatty acids helped people with osteoarthritis, AF said.
The Mayo Clinic said there is
"strong scientific evidence for its use" when considering research supporting fish oil, or omega-3s, for arthritis, but cautioned that results have been studied and seem to be effective for up to three months. "Fish oil has been found to have effects on the immune system and on fats in the blood in people with rheumatoid arthritis," the website said. "However, effects beyond three months of treatment are unclear. More research is needed before a firm conclusion may be made."
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In addition to joint pain and stiffness, another study giving patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis 1,500 mg of glucosamine sulfate and 200 mg of omega-3 found those patients reported better pain reduction and fewer symptoms like morning stiffness and pain in hips and knees than those who just took glucosamine, Mercola.com reported
The Arthritis Foundation warned that women who are pregnant should not try to get their omega-3s by eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish; they also should avoid eating more than 8 ounces of albacore tuna monthly because of concerns about mercury levels.
The Foundation also said that fish oil supplements are safe as long as they are taken in normal doses, but more than 3000 mg daily increases the risk of bleeding.
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