Eradicate Arthritis

Omega-3 improve cartilage collagen and schock absorption

Arthritis, Healthy living magazine

Arthritis, Healthy living magazine

Arthritis, a crippling disease that currently affects 1 in 5 Americans, responds to dietary supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids, according to an experimental study at the University of Bristol. Although the work is experimental, the authors say they omega-3 supplements should reduce disease severity if used regularly and in adequate dosages.

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In the study, published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, guinea pigs with the disease were treated with a diet rich in omega-3s and a control group given a diet without them. The results showed up to a 50% decrease in the osteoarthritis symptoms with the omega-3 diet compared to the standard one. The omega-3-enriched diet also caused a general reduction of disease indicators including cartilage and bone changes.

Dr John Tarlton, the lead researcher on the study, says that traditional early warnings of an oncoming arthritis condition, including the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with omega-3s. "Furthermore, there was strong evidence that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease and therefore not only helps prevent disease but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis," says Dr Tarlton. "The only way of being certain that the effects of omega-3 are as applicable to humans as demonstrated in guinea pigs is to apply omega-3s to humans. However, osteoarthritis in guinea pigs is perhaps the most appropriate model for spontaneous, naturally occurring osteoarthritis and all of the evidence supports the use of omega-3 in human disease."

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"Our results suggest that dietary factors play a more significant role than mechanical factors in the link between obesity and osteoarthritis," says Farshid Guilak, PhD, the lead author. The majority of fat intake in the average American diet comes from saturated animal fats, which is the heart of the arthritis problem in the USA. Omega-6 fatty acids come from seeds and nuts and omega-3 comes from fish; hence, the common term, fish oil. "A healthy diet would include roughly equal ratios of these fats, but we're way off the scale in the Western diet," says Dr Guilak.

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