Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Omega 3 Fatty Acids

There has been a study on rheumatoid arthritis and omega-3 fatty acids recently. D. di Giuseppe and colleagues published: “Long-term intake of dietary long-chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of rheumatoid arthritis: a prospective cohort study of women.” The authors collected data on diet via a self-administered food-frequency questionnaire in 1987 and 1997. “Among 32 232 women born 1914-1948, 205 RA cases were identified during a mean follow-up of 7.5 years (1 January 2003 to 31 December 2010; 2 41 120 person-years).” They concluded: “This prospective study of women supports the hypothesis that dietary intake of long-chain n-3 PUFAs may play a role in aetiology of RA.” Link:
Some people already think that we all have to take fish oil supplementation to avoid getting rheumatoid arthritis. I think that most of the population need more omega-3 fatty acids, but I don’t think that we need supplementation. Y.H. Lee and colleagues published a meta-analysis in 2012: “Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis.” At ≥2.7 g omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids per day there has been reduced nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) consumption over the 10 RCTs. Tender joint, swollen joint count, morning stiffness, and physical function only showed a trend but did not reach statistical significance. Link:

So what can one do? Reduce omega-6 fatty acids and increase omega-3 fatty acids. I don’t think that fish or krill oil is necessary. If you eat fish, prefer fish to meat (meat is bad anyway). If you live the happy vegetarian life watch out to significantly reduce omega-6 fatty acids (especially if you’re going vegan) and use more oils and seeds containing omega-3 fatty acids, linseed contains the most.

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