New research has shown for the first time that omega-3 in fish oil could prevent osteoarthritis, and also reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
According to the study, omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 per cent compared to a standard diet.
The research is a major step forward in showing that omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the process of osteoarthritis, or even prevent osteoarthritis from taking place, confirming reports and “old wives’ tales” about the benefits of fish oil for joint health.
The lead researcher said classic early signs of the condition, 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.
Also, there was strong evidence that omega-3 affects the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent osteoarthritis, but also slows its progression, likely controlling established osteoarthritis.
The only way of being certain that the effects of omega-3 are as applicable to humans as shown in guinea pigs is to apply omega-3 to humans. However, osteoarthritis in guinea pigs is perhaps the most ideal model for natural occurring osteoarthritis, and all of the evidence supports the use of omega-3 in human disease.
The possibility that omega-3 fatty acids could prevent osteoarthritis from developing has been a tantalizing one. Some limited, previous research in dogs has suggested that we were a long way away from understanding the potential use in humans. However, this current research in guinea pigs is exciting as it brings us closer to understanding how omega-3 might basically interfere with the osteoarthritis process, and that it could likely be taken as a treatment.
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