Omega-3 fatty acids are certainly familiar to you, especially with inflammatory arthritis. They contribute to reducing inflammation throughout the body, and some studies have indicated that they offer health advantages for the heart, brain, and diabetes.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: What Are They?
Our body does not produce these important fats are not produced by the body, but you can get them through specific meals and supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids are divided into three types: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are found primarily on fish and shellfish; alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is present in plants and may be converted to EPA and DHA in the body.
However, since the conversion process is inefficient, you’ll need to consume a lot of ALA-containing meals to get the EPA and DHA levels you desire. As a result, the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fatty fish and seafood.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in many types of fish, including tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines, and salmon. It’s also found in flaxseed and dietary supplements.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Arthritis
Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful fatty acids that have gained much-deserved attention for their role in addressing various health issues.
Omega-3s may help with RA by:
- Inflammation is reduced: Inflammation of the synovium, the lining of the joints, is a defining feature of RA. Because omega-3 fatty acids can help your body produce less inflammatory molecules, it’s thought that consuming them can help reduce inflammation and prevent joint injury.
- Activate the immunological system: RA is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system targets the synovium by mistake. Omega-3 fatty acids may aid in the regulation of the immune response and the prevention of infections.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may improve heart health, according to some research.3 RA is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, so careful management of cardiovascular risk factors is important
Omega-3 in Foods
Omega-3 fatty acids are likely to be part of your diet without you knowing it. Most Americans get enough ALA through food along with small amounts of EPA and DHA, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.10 (EPA and DHA do not have daily recommendations.)
Foods that provide omega-3s include:10
- Fish and other seafood, found in cold-water fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, herring)
- Plant oils, present in flaxseed oil and soybean oil
- Nuts and seeds, especially flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts
- Fortified foods, including some yogurts, juices, milk, soy beverages, and eggs
Omega-3 vs. Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids serve as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) that the body needs. There are, however, significant differences:
- Omega-3 fatty acids are linked to a reduction in inflammation. Many foods, such as salmon, eggs, walnuts, flaxseed, and leafy green vegetables like spinach, contain omega-3 fatty acids. These foods are frequently suggested as part of an anti-inflammatory diet, which is somewhat unsurprising.
- Increased inflammation is linked to omega-6 fatty acids. Most vegetable oils, including sunflower, corn, and canola oils, and meats like chicken, pig, and beef (though grass-fed beef can be a source of omega-3’s4-5), including omega-6 fatty acids.
Side Effects of Fish Oil
Most people generally tolerate even substantial amounts of fish oil. Mild adverse effects have been reported, including:
- squishy stools
If you take fish oil just before a meal, most of these negative effects will be decreased or avoided. You may also put the capsules in the freezer before swallowing them.
Concerns About Safety
Although a daily dose of 3 g EPA + DHA is regarded safe for general consumption, more research on the clinical efficacy of fish oil supplements in the RA population is needed.
Supplementing 4,14 PUFAs have been associated with gastrointestinal discomfort (e.g., a “fishy” aftertaste, heartburn, and diarrhea), mercury exposure, and delayed bleeding time.
Because of vitamin A toxicity potential, fish liver oils such as cod liver oil are recommended in particular dosages. Vitamin A levels in anti-inflammatory dosages of cod liver oil may be higher than the recommended amount. Fish body oils, which have a lower vitamin A content, are a better choice.
Fish oil may help in the treatment of RA by lowering joint inflammation. More study is needed to determine whether the oil helps with OA symptoms.
Because fish oil may interact with some anti-inflammatory medicines, it’s best to see a cardiologist doctor before taking it.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
1- Which omega-3 is best for arthritis?
The best sources of marine omega-3s are fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel. Eating a 3- to 6-ounce serving of these fish two to four times, a week is recommended for lowering inflammation and protecting the heart.
2- Do omega-3 supplements help in osteoarthritis?
For the first time, a new study shows omega-3 in fish oil may reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
3- How long does it take for omega-3’s to work?
Levels of omega-3’s build up quickly in the body once you take supplements. But it may take six weeks to 6 months to see a significant change in mood, pain, or other symptoms.