Omega-3 Fatty Acids take on Osteoarthritis October 20, 2011
Omega-3 Fatty Acids take on Osteoarthritis October 20, 2011

The health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are wide and varied covering such areas as fighting cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, imflamation and even some mental disorders.

Now new research from the University of Bristol has shown Omega-3’s ability to slow down or even prevent osteoarthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential unsaturated fats that cannot be made in the body and must be ingested in food. They are vital for normal growth and brain function. They are found mostly commonly in fish and flax oil.

Osteoarthritis is a common degenerative joint disorder that is usually caused by everyday wear and tear. It involves degradation of the cartilage and bone at the joints and is usually accompanied by joint stiffness, pain and swelling. There are thought to be many contributing causes for osteoarthritis including but not limited to stress on the joints.

This latest research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, specially from fish oil sources, can slow down the progression or even prevent the occurrence of osteoarthritis. The study looked at diets enriched with omega-3’s fed to guinea pigs who are naturally susceptible to osteoarthritis. The guinea pigs on the special omega-3 diets had a 50% reduction in their incidence of the disease compared to a control group on a standard diet.

Unfortunately according to one of the researchers “Most human diets in the developed world are lacking in omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much omega-6 and too little omega-3. Taking omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis.”

Further studies need to be done but a future next step would be to take these findings and apply them to a human research model. Until then following the RDA’s for Omega-3’s is a good start.

ScienceDaily; Omega-3 Fatty Acids Shown to Prevent or Slow Progression of Osteoarthritis (Oct. 17, 2011)

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