Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory condition of the joints. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease. It is characterized by the movement of lymphocytes and other inflammatory cells into the joint tissues and fluids, causing pain and swelling.
The main dietary omega-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, produces inflammatory eicosanoid chemicals in cells. High levels of omega-6 are seen within the inflammatory cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, are found in oily fish and fish oils. EPA and DHA inhibit the production of inflammatory eicosanoids from arachidonic acid (omega-6). Omega-3 inhibits other inflammatory properties of omega-6. EPA and DHA have anti-inflammatory activity of their own. The presence of EPA, alone, reduces the production of inflammatory eicosanoids.
Fish oil has been shown, in animals, to reduce the development and severity of arthritis and delay it’s onset. Omega-3 has shown benefits in humans by reducing the pain and swelling of arthritis in clinical studies. A recent study showed the effective dose of EPA to be more than 2 grams/day. EPA and DHA have been shown to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins.
Fish oil supplementation has been shown to reduce the risk of developing and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis in humans. Fish oil delays the onset of rheumatoid arthritis. The studies used doses of fish oil which averaged from 3 to 5 gm./day.
Conclusion: “Dietary fish oil supplements should now be regarded as part of the standard therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.” Many clinical studies in humans have shown the benefits of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis.
NOTE: Fish oil and it’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be of benefit in some cancers. See Summary 257. Read about prolactin and autoimmune disease.
To read the author’s abstract of the article click on the link to the author’s title of the article above.