The results of a new study offer hope for osteoarthritis sufferers everywhere as researchers add weight to the notion that a simple omega 3 supplement could significantly decrease symptoms of the joint condition. In fact, omega 3 may help slow down joint tissue degeneration and, unlike many arthritis medications, the side effects of omega 3 are typically side benefits!
Benefits of Omega 3 for Osteoarthritis Found in fish oil, krill oil, flaxseed, algal oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds and even walnuts, omega 3 is known to help control inflammation, pain, stiffness and swelling. In this newly published study, researchers at Duke University Medical Centre, in North Carolina, concluded that osteoarthritis is more significantly linked to diet than to body weight, suggesting that even arthritis sufferers who are obese could benefit from an omega 3 supplement.
The Duke University Arthritis Study To investigate the effects of omega 3 on joint health the researchers at Duke inflicted knee injuries in a number of obese and non-obese lab mice in order to mimic osteoarthritis in humans. Although animal research doesn't always translate well to human health the effects of the diets of these unfortunate mice does support existing theories regarding the effects of dietary fatty acid intake on levels of inflammation, pain and joint degeneration.
Mechanical Stress or Inflammation – What Causes Arthritis Symptoms? The mice fed a diet high in omega 3 (making up 8% of calories) had healthier joints even if they were overweight, compared to mice fed diets high in saturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids. Being overweight is considered a risk factor for osteoarthritis, typically because of the additional mechanical stress excess weight puts on the joints. However, this new research suggests that it may be inflammation and other factors tied to obesity and adipose (fatty) tissue that exert a more significant effect on joint health than mechanical stressors.
Arthritis Symptoms Not Tied to Obesity, but to Dietary Fats People with osteoarthritis who manage to maintain a 'healthy' bodyweight but whose diet is high in saturated fats and omega 6 fatty acids may suffer just as much, if not more than those who are overweight or obese but who have a healthy intake of omega 3 and low intake of omega 6 and saturated fats. Typically, saturated fats are found in animal-derived foods while omega 6 is present in the diet in corn oil, soybean oil and in many processed foods. Anti-Inflammatory Omega 3
Animal fats are often high in arachidonic acid, a fatty acid that is metabolised into pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic eicosanoids as well as leukotrienes that affect immune system function. Conversely, omega 3 fatty acids are converted into anti-inflammatory eicosanoids and help regulate immune function and blood viscosity, exerting beneficial effects on joint health, brain function, cardiovascular health and a range of bodily systems. Osteoarthritis and Diet
An average diet in the UK contains significantly more (often 30 times as much) omega 6 compared to omega 3, setting people up for both acute and chronic health issues. Osteoarthritis is big business in the UK, with around one in five people over 45 having osteoarthritis in the knee, and some eight million people in the country suffering from the joint condition.
Krill Oil Offers Rapid Relief from Arthritis Symptoms
Other studies have also found benefits for omega 3 supplements in arthritis. In particular, one study looked at 90 patients with chronic inflammation and arthritis symptoms and found that 300mg of krill oil a day led to significant decreases in inflammation after just a week. This 19.3% reduction in levels of C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation) became a 30.9% reduction after 30 days and patients also had a 28.9% reduction in pain, 20.3% reduction in joint stiffness, and a 22.8% reduction in functional impairment after just seven days of krill oil supplementation (Deutsch, 2007).
Natural Joint Support
Omega 3 is rapidly becoming a preferred method of achieving fast and effective relief from the symptoms of arthritis, in addition to helping slow down joint degeneration. By combining an omega 3-rich supplement like krill oil with highly bioavailable glucosamine hydrochloride and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), those suffering from inflammatory arthritis could experience fast relief from pain and swelling and actively encourage joint tissue regeneration. What's more, omega 3 supplements may even help reduce dependence on pain medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that have the potential for serious adverse effects, especially when taken long-term. References
Wu CL, Jain D, McNeill JN, Little D, Anderson JA, Huebner JL, Kraus VB, Rodriguiz RM, Wetsel WC, Guilak F. Dietary fatty acid content regulates wound repair and the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis following joint injury. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Jul 10. Deutsch, L. Evaluation of the effect of Neptune krill oil on chronic inflammation and arthritic symptoms. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2007 26(1), 39-48.