Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Not Just For Heart & Eye Health – They Can Help Ease Joint Pain Too
Omega-3 fatty acids have been extensively researched in recent years and the study results are promising. The research has shown that consuming them is associated with the prevention and/or reduction in severity of a variety of diseases including metabolic diseases (heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes), neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease), and a variety of other inflammatory conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Joint Health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits, which are particularly helpful for reducing joint pain in arthritis patients. This is supported by The Report of a British Nutrition Foundation Task Force which revealed that fish oils providing 2.7-4g/day of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) helped to reduce some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, including swollen and tender joints. A recent study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology further supports these findings as it reports that randomized clinical trials using fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis patients have found improvements in a number of clinical outcomes including reduced duration of morning joint stiffness, reduced number of swollen or tender joints, decreased joint pain, decreased time to fatigue, decreased use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and increased grip strength.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Diet
Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as essential fats, meaning that your body can’t make them, instead you must get them from the food you eat. Most Americans consume the recommended amount in their diet, according to data from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
- Cold-water fish (salmon, cod, trout, mackerel, and sardines)
- Nuts (flax and chia seeds, black walnuts)
- Plant oils (flaxseed oil, soybean oil, and canola oil)
- Egg yolks (free range)
- Fish oil, cod liver oil, and krill oil
If you suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, or if you just have occasional joint pain, consuming more omega-3 fatty acids may help to relieve your joint inflammation and pain.
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