With all the known risks of traditional treatment for arthritis with COX-2 inhibitors, analgesics and corticosteroids, interest in a healthy, safe and natural alternative remedy has generated a lot of buzz around the use of fish oil for arthritis.
Omega 3 fats, the kind you see in good fish oil, has been shown to reverse heart disease, boost immune function, fight degenerative disease, help increase fertility, improve mental health and promote healthy skin.
A list of benefits from taking fish oil supplements, most related to their anti-inflammatory activity, includes protection from colon cancer, depression, asthma, menstrual cramps, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and also rheumatoid arthritis.
Does Fish Oil Help Arthritis?
No one quite knows for sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but in almost all cases the ‘final common pathway’ is linked to inflammation of the synovial lining of joints all over the body. It is an auto-immune condition where the body reacts against its own tissues, causing this inflammation.
Not only does fish oil lower inflammatory reaction and relieve joint pain and swelling in those with arthritis, it also lets them lower the amount of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids that they needed to take earlier.
There is some speculation about whether or not fish oil actually slows down the progression of rheumatoid arthritis, but there is no actual proof of this effect, and further research is necessary.
On a related note, omega 3 has many protective effects against the development of heart disease and can lower triglyceride levels. This is important because of the known increase in cardiovascular risk that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have.
What Kind of Fish Oil Works Best for Arthritis?
Omega 3 is found predominantly in fatty fish – trout, white tuna, halibut, mackerel and salmon. Other sea foods rich in omega 3 are oysters, sardines and herring. Consuming any of these fatty fish can significantly reduce inflammatory reaction, and provide relief from arthritis.
A way to enjoy the benefits of fish oil without having to eat a lot of fish is to take fish oil capsules. 3 grams a day of fish oil provides 1 gram of the important omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which is all you need.
Several brands use oil from fish caught in the cleanest and coldest waters, preferably those far from industrialized countries where the highest risk of water contamination exists.
Making fish oil capsules even safer is the practice of molecular distillation, a process that removes any mercury or other heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs and other contaminants.