In September, I wrote a post on using an anti-inflammatory diet to improve health and reduce joint pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. Incorporating omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, flaxseed, walnuts, etc.) has been known to be a key component of an anti-inflammatory diet for some time, and has been recommended for joint health.
Yesterday, there was an interesting article in Science Daily entitled “Omega-3 Fatty Acids Shown to Prevent or Slow Progression of Osteoarthritis”. According to a new study published in the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, omega-3 fatty acids may do more for the joints than just bringing down inflammation. They may also help prevent osteoarthritis and slow the progression of the disease by protecting the cartilage, which is the material between the bones that provides padding and prevents the bones from rubbing against each other.
This study, which was done on guinea pigs, found that a diet rich in omega-3’s reduced the development of osteoarthritis by 50% compared to a standard diet. While more research needs to be done on humans to determine if we get the same benefits and to recommend appropriate dosages of fish oil for the prevention and/or treatment of osteoarthritis, this research does provide some hope and insight into the role diet can play on joint health.
While we wait for additional research, it would be wise to take steps now to ensure we are including adequate levels of omega-3 fatty acids in our diet. After all, there are so many other benefits that we know we receive from these healthy fats.
For more information on Omega-3’s and fish in the diet, you can check out the following posts: