New research from England suggests that fish oil may help slow the progression of osteoarthritis – the “wear and tear” version of arthritis that often is an unwelcome feature of getting older. In fact, based on their study in guinea pigs, the investigators from Britain’s University of Bristol say that fish oil may help to prevent arthritis from occurring in the first place.
The study team fed omega-3 rich diets to guinea pigs that have a genetic pre-disposition to develop osteoarthritis and found that compared to a control group of animals eating a standard guinea pig diet, the fish oil diet reduced incidence of the disease by 50 percent.
Positive effects of the diet included a reduction of the degradation of collagen in cartilage and better retention of the molecules that give cartilage its shock-absorbing properties. Evidence also indicated that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of arthritis and as a result can help prevent osteoarthritis and slow progression where it has already occurred. The study was published in the September 2011, issue of the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.
We’ve known for some time that eating oily fleshed, cold water fish such as salmon or sardines two to three times a week or taking fish oil supplements (two grams daily of a brand that contains both EPA and DHA) helps reduce the inflammation that damages tissues and makes osteoarthritis so painful. Daily fish oil has also been studied for its benefits in those with high cholesterol, diabetes, symptoms of PMS, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, memory loss, depression, insulin resistance and rheumatoid arthritis.