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 consider taking omega 3 fatty acids to better manage your arthritis symptoms.

Omega 3 fatty acids

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.

Omega 3 oils contain three fatty acids:

  • ALA,
  • DHA  
  • EPA

In addition, the fatty acid DFA contributes to the maintenance of normal brain function, so it may have some effect on alzeimer’s disease. DHA also contributes to the maintenance of normal vision. Both EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart.

Omega 3 Sources

Research has found that the best known source of omega 3 fatty acids is from cold water (oily) fish:

  • salmon
  • Mackerel
  • herring
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • halibut

If you are not keen on eating these fish two or three times a week, then you may prefer to get your DHA and EPA from vegetable sources:

  • flaxseed
  • walnuts
  • soybeans

Flaxseed oil must be organic, cold-pressed oil, because the extraction method is vital to preserve the DHA and EPA content.

Omega 3 fatty acids have anti inflammatory effect

Numerous  studies have proven the anti inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids. 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.

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
  • lubrication of joints

Heart Disease & Strokes

Having high levels of the blood fat triglyceride is considered a risk factor for heart disease.A number of studies indicate that fish oil supplements can reduce these elevated levels.  On its own, DHA has also been shown to lower triglycerides. Large population studies suggest that getting omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, primarily from fish, helps protect against stroke caused by plaque buildup and blood clots in the arteries that lead to the brain.

Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

Preliminary research suggests that omega-3 oils may give protection against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Furthermore, recent research indicates that the DHA in omega 3 can slow the decline seen in patients with dementia, or in age-associated memory loss.

Fish Oil (omega 3) Supplements

The type of fish oil that is used to make the supplements is important.  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 omega 3 supplements

 

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.

Guidelines for choosing the best omega 3 supplement

 

When choosing your omega 3 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

 

CAUTION with fish oil supplements

Nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury, so this may be another reason to favor the vegetable option. This applies more to pregnant women and young children, who would be more at risk from the toxic effects of mercury and other pollutants that the fish may ingest.  

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.