Studies have found that n-3 or omega fatty acids, present in fish oils may benefit arthritis patients.
A study was conducted on 66 Rheumatoid arthritis patients (who were on diclofenac 75 mg twice a day) to; find whether dietary supplementation with fish oil helps to discontinue NSAIDs (Non Steroid Anti-Inflammatory Drugs); study the efficacy of high-dose dietary omega 3 fatty acid fish oil supplementation; study the effect of omega 3 fatty acids on the production of cytokines (which cause inflammation and pain).
The patients were given either 130 mg/kg/day of omega 3 fatty acids or 9 capsules/day of corn oil. At 18 or 20 weeks placebo diclofenac was substituted but patients continued to take fish oil for the next 8 weeks.
The researchers observed that the patients who were taking fish oil showed a significant reduction in tender joint count by 3 joints, and reduced morning stiffness by 26 minutes. Also the decrease in the number of tender joint was found to be significant even 8 weeks after the discontinuation of diclofenac. Moreover researchers found that n-3 or omega fatty acids, present in fish oils also reduce the levels of Cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme, interleukin-1 and TNF-alpha cytokines, which cause inflammation and pain in joints.
Hence, the study proves that fish oil supplementation does show improvement in the symptoms and other clinical parameters of rheumatoid arthritis. Infact, researchers say that in some patients it may even help to discontinue or lower the dose of NSAIDs or DMARDs (Disease Modifying anti rheumatic drugs) but still more definitive studies are needed to confirm this.