No old wives’ tale: Omega-3 prevents osteoarthritis

October 18th, 2011 - 1:27 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 18 (IANS) Omega-3 in fish oil could “substantially and significantly” reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and slow its progression.

Omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 percent compared to a standard diet, according to a University of Bristol study.

Omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, or even prevent it from occurring, confirming “old wives’ tales” about the benefits of fish oil for joint health, the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage reports.

John Tarlton, from the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, who led the study, said typical symptoms, such as the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with Omega-3.

“Furthermore, there was strong evidence that Omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis,” he said, according to a Bristol statement.

Tarlton added: “The only way of being certain that the effects of Omega-3 are as applicable to humans as demonstrated in guinea pigs is to apply Omega-3 to humans.

“Most diets in the developed world are lacking in Omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3.

“Taking Omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis,” Tarlton concludes.

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