Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Arthritis

Arthritis is a painful and debilitating condition in which sufferers experience joint pain. In osteoarthritis, damage to joint cartilage from general wear and tear causes pain and swelling in the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's own immune system attacks the joint tissue, in particular joint cartilage, again, causing pain and swelling.

Recent research has suggested that the anti-inflammatory activity of omega-3 fatty acids can help to positively impact and regulate the inflammatory responses in the body, helping to relieve the pain of arthritis. Several studies have found that fish oil at dosages of at least 3g per day (for at least 3 months) can significantly reduce stiffness and relieve tender, swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, and patients were even able to reduce the level of their arthritis medication.

In addition, fish oil (which contains the omega 3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid - DHA - and eicosapentaenoic acid - EPA) may be useful in preventing or slowing cartilage damage in patients with osteoarthritis by reducing the activity of enzymes that destroy cartilage.