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Why Exactly Are Fish Oil and Omega 3 Fatty Acids Good for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Why Exactly Are Fish Oil and Omega 3 Fatty Acids Good for Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Anyone with rheumatoid arthritis experiences joint pain, swelling, inflammation, stiffness as a result of the condition. Anyone with RA is also probably aware of the importance of exercise and diet when it comes to management and treatment.

Doctors are recommending fish oil and omega-3s to help reduce symptoms in severity and occurrence. Fish oil comes from tissues of oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, etc. These fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to manage and prevent inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, and more.

Although there is currently no cure for RA, there are many different ways that omega-3s and fish oil can provide relief.

The combination of EPA and DHA found in fish oil helps to reduce inflammation and blood clotting in RA

Fish oil contains two essential omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA goes head to head with arachidonic acid through COX and LOX paths. Arachidonic acid is responsible for the formation of several inflammatory chemicals and both COX and LOX are inflammatory enzymes. The end result is a reduction in the formation of inflammatory chemicals and an increase in the formation of resolvins, which have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Although they do not prevent inflammation, they shut down the process so that inflammation does not become chronic. 

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are helpful in the treatment of autoimmune diseases

Since EPA goes head to head with arachidonic acid, this results in less inflammatory chemicals. The omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil lower the activation of immune cells, thus preventing autoimmune responses.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help to ease pain

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and their metabolites can help to ease pain, thereby alleviating swelling, inflammation, and stiffness of the joints.

Fish oil helps lower the severity of RA

A number of clinical trials have found that supplementation of fish oil has shown clinical improvement within 12 weeks. Clinical improvement includes a reduction in inflammatory responses, as well as alleviation of joint stiffness and tenderness. 

Fish oil helps prevent dependence on conventional drugs

The supplementation of fish oil gives off an anti-inflammatory and an analgesic effect on the body, thereby helping to improve RA without the excessive need for NSAIDs.   

Fish oil helps reduce the side effects of conventional painkillers

The EPA found in fish oil gives off an anti-ulcerogenic effect, which helps protect the body from gastric lesions. Lowering the use of conventional painkillers lowers the risk of both cardiovascular and gastric damage. 

Fish oil helps lower the complications associated with RA

The anti-platelet activity in fish oil helps to lower the onset of cardiovascular events in RA, as well as other unwanted conditions such as dry eye disease.  

Though fish oil supplements are a consistent way to make sure you're getting all your omega-3s, actually eating the fish is the best way to get all of the benefits.

Read on to learn more about fish oil and fish oil supplements for RA.