Rheumatoid Arthritis and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common types of arthritis. It is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes damage to the cartilage and soft tissues in the joints. As a result, joints become red, swollen and painful. Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause eye inflammation, nodules under the skin, and make you feel generally unwell.
Can Omega 3 Fats Help With Arthritis?
Omega 3 fatty acids are well known for their health benefits. They contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system; they help you keep your heart healthy, and are essential for the health of the nervous system. Among other things that they do, Omega 3 fats also decrease inflammation throughout the body.
Many studies have shown that Omega 3-s help relieve the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This is probably due to their anti-inflammatory action and their effect on the immune system. It has been proven that Omega 3-s supplementation reduces the swelling, pain and stiffness that come with rheumatoid arthritis. Many people who started adding enough Omega 3-s to their diet have been able to stop using or lower their dose of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication – NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen).
Research has shown that Omega 3 supplementation can be helpful even if used in addition to strong disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), like methotrexate.
Both American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine have concluded that people with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from Omega 3 supplementation. However, it may take months to see effects, so you should be patient when starting a new supplementation regime.
What You Should Know About Taking Omega 3 Supplements For Rheumatoid Arthritis
There are 3 major types of Omega 3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA, and ALA. The first two are the ones that have been shown to provide the most health benefits.
Most supplements contain EPA and DHA. When looking for a supplement for rheumatoid arthritis, you should choose a supplement that has a higher percentage of EPA than DHA. EPA, namely, is the Omega 3 fatty acid that acts anti-inflammatory in the body. You should, of course, also get enough DHA (at least 250 mgs per day), just to help you keep your heart and brain healthy.
The effective daily dosage for rheumatoid arthritis has not yet been established. Doses used in studies of inflammation, have been between 1.000 mgs and 3.000 mgs of combined EPA and DHA per day.
You should start at the lower end of that spectrum. The best thing to do is to keep a journal of your symptoms and adjust the dose every couple of weeks, until you find your long term dosage - the daily amount of Omega 3 fats that works best with your symptoms.
Don’t exceed the daily dose of 3.000 mgs! This is the dose that has been proven safe on the long-term (GRAS by FDA). With larger dose of Omega 3 fats, you increase the risk of side effects.
When choosing your supplement, there are also some other things you need to consider. First and foremost, is safety. You need to make sure that you are buying from an established manufacturer that can prove the purity of their products with 3-rd party certificates and test results.
You can choose between liquid and capsule form supplements, supplements, derived from fish or krill fat, and so on.
You Might Also Want to Know
To get more info on how to take Omega 3 supplements, take a look at the following articles:
Learn the best way to take an Omega 3 supplement, possible side effects and interactions with other supplements or medications you might be taking.
An overview of different types of Omega 3 supplements (fish, krill and plant based supplements).
A review of top fish oil manufacturers and a wide selection of high quality fish oil Omega 3 supplements.
Find out about the difference between krill and fish oil supplements. Article also includes an overview of most popular krill oil supplements.