Arthritis is a condition involving regular or silent inflammation in your joints. Milder cases are annoying because they cause stiffness and pain that’s difficult to treat. Whereas more severe cases can be debilitating and even prevent you from doing the everyday things you enjoy or need to do in order to take care of yourself.
Most people know that fish oil has a reputation for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. So, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to think it might be able to help treat arthritis.
Indeed, there is ample evidence from a host of researchers supporting the use of fish oil as an arthritis treatment. What’s more, scientists believe that fish oil can actually help the most for the two most common types of arthritis.
What are the two most common types of arthritis?
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
Knowing a little bit about them can help you understand why fish oil is an ideal choice for arthritis treatment. Let’s take a closer look at these two types of arthritis and see what you can do about them.
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
This type of arthritis is fueled by inflammation in your body.
As such, it seems pretty obvious that you’re first plan of attack should be to reduce any dietary sources that promote inflammation. Second, increase the types of foods known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Since fish oil supplements rank higher than any other source, I’d say that’s a pretty good place to start.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Unlike Rheumatoid Arthritis, this type actually eats away at your body’s cartilage.
An ideal solution to this problem is simply to stop aging right now, but that’s not about to happen! Now, before you start asking is fish oil the fountain of youth, I can tell you right now that it’s pprobably not. But you can do several things to both prevent and treat this common type of arthritis.
What About The Pain Pills And NSAIDs Everyone Else Takes?
You don’t have to be like the millions of Americans taking drugs to treat arthritis and joint pains. You have three basic options to choose from:
- NSAIDs & Pain Relievers
- Natural Alternatives, like fish oil
Many of these drugs are dangerous – and some are just outright ineffective. However, since everyone is different you may find that some of the side effects are outweighed by your own particular outcomes. Let’s take a look at each treatment.
Corticosteroids are drugs that mimic the adrenal system. Basically, they suppress the immune system and prevent it from attacking the body itself. These types of meds should be used as a short-term solution only, because of their many side effects. Some of the scary side effects include:
- High blood sugar
- Loss of bone density
- Menstrual problems
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Water retention
NSAIDs AND PAIN RELIEVERS
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, and pain relievers are the most popular choice among people with arthritis. However, these types of treatments which include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium often require ultra-high doses. In some cases, these drugs fail to offer any relief at all. Side effects from NSAIDs include:
- Internal bleeding
- Deadly drug interactions
NATURAL ALTERNATIVES, LIKE FISH OIL
This is by far the safest choice. In many cases, it works best with other healthy treatments, like exercise. There’s nothing magical going on here – fish oil is effective because it can help treat both inflammation and pain; not one or the other. As for side effects, prepare yourself:
- Thins your blood (so check with doctor if you’re taking meds like blood thinners)
If Fish Oil Is Such A Great Treatment For Arthritis, Why Don’t More People Take It?
Who knows?! Actually, it’s more likely that people just associate fish oil with heart health. However, research shows that fish oil works just as effectively as NSAIDs and pain relievers.
Is There Any Research Supporting The Use Of Fish Oil For Arthritis?
Of course! I wouldn’t be recommending it otherwise. Here’s are the most important findings from published studies:
- Fish oil can and does reduce inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis
- People who supplement with omega-3 fatty acids experience less joint tenderness
- It reduces the need for corticosteroid treatments & NSAIDs
- Omega-3 actually fights the enzymes that destroy cartilage in osteoarthritis
So, you should be taking fish oil for your arthritis because it’s designed to treat the two most common types. There’s absolutely no reason you have to be like the millions of people worrying about the dangerous and pointless side effects linked to traditional arthritis treatments. Fish oil is certainly safer and superior to the popularly used dangerous and/or ineffective drugs out there.
Prednisone and other corticosteroids: Balance the risks and benefits
Effects of omega-3 fatty acids on lipids and glycemic control in type II diabetes and the metabolic syndrome and on inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, renal disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, and osteoporosis.
A meta-analysis of the analgesic effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation for inflammatory joint pain.
Validation of a meta-analysis: the effects of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis.
Effects of manipulation of dietary fatty acids on clinical manifestations of rheumatoid arthritis.
Pathologic indicators of degradation and inflammation in human osteoarthritic cartilage are abrogated by exposure to n-3 fatty acids.
Arthritis disease – the use of complementary therapies.