Arthritis: A Role for Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplements

June 2010, Xtend-Life Expert

Summary

Research has been growing over the past several years which demonstrates that inflammation anywhere in the body contributes to a number of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, mood disorders, diabetes, obesity, etc.

Research has been growing over the past several years which demonstrates that inflammation anywhere in the body contributes to a number of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, mood disorders, diabetes, obesity, etc.

The topic of this article is “What role does omega-3 fatty acids play in both the prevention and treatment of arthritis?”*

First of all, let’s talk about terminology for moment; arthritis means “inflammation of the joints.” There are two broad categories of arthritis, one is that of the “wear and tear” variety, termed osteoarthritis and the other “inflammatory” arthritis, common examples of which include rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and a variety of autoimmune conditions. However, all arthritic conditions involve inflammation.

There is a growing scientific consensus that inflammation anywhere in the body is often aggravated by the consumption of excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids like those found in many plant oils and processed foods made with the same and the relative deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids like those found in cold water fish.

To test the theory that altering the balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids studies have been conducted whereby patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a particularly painful and frequently disfiguring form of arthritis, were put on a diet low in omega-6 fatty acids, especially those high in arachidonic fatty acids and also given omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

Patients benefited significantly from such an approach from either minimizing omega-6 fatty acids or increasing omega-3 fatty acids. The best results were achieved by strict adherence to the low omega-6 diet and the supplemented omega-3s.

Researchers were able to demonstrate exactly how DHA alleviate the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It turns out that DHA is converted in the body to a substance called “Resolvin D2.” This substance in turn causes white blood cells to become less sticky to the cell wall, minimizing the harmful effects of inflammation. These results are very interesting in that almost all other anti-inflammatory medicines interfere with inflammation by actually compromising the immune system. That is the primary reason this category of drugs causes so many side effects.

During the course of my 25-year career, I suggest omega-3 fatty acids along with a good multi-vitamin to many of my patients. Such a combination helps to reduce the risks of many chronic diseases, especially those with a significant inflammatory component.

*Spite et al. Resolvin D2 is a potent regulator of leukocytes and controls microbial sepsis. Nature, 2009; 461 (7268): 1287 DOI: 10.1038/nature08541

2 Comments

  • “Hello, As someone who exercise and participate in running, football and weight training competition. What product will you recommend that helps to improve and maintain overall health and performance? Also the daily dosage before and after exercising and training ? Thanks for your advice . Kind Regards K Okogi”

    K Okogi - June 28 2010

  • “Hi K Okogi, Most sports supplements are actually ordinary supplements with higher doses. This is because active people require a lot of oxygen when performing exercises such as running and even weight training. The combined effect of large intakes of oxygen with depleted nutrients during exercise can lead to the formation of oxidative stress in the body, ultimately raising the number of those nasty molecules called free radicals. Natural health supplements, like Total Balance contain potent bio-active ingredients that provide a range of health benefits, especially when it comes to neutralizing free radicals. Total Balances unique delivery system ensures that your body not only absorbs optimal amounts of these bio-active ingredients, it also gives you the boost you need by replenishing depleted levels of key nutrients, brought on by various factors such as age, exercise intensity, and how healthy you system actually is. For optimal results split into 2 doses per day; first thing in the morning, and around mid to late afternoonideally fitting your exercise regime between these two doses. Another natural supplement which may help you is our Omega 3 / QH Ultra is good for helping maintain an athletes overall health and wellbeing, regardless of your age or fitness level. It contains a potent form of ubiquinol which has been shown in various studies to help energize the body, extend exertion time, and reduce recovery time. Before starting your exercise regime, take two soft gels with a full glass of warm water and then another two soft gels post-exercise after you have cooled down and stretched. Finally, to help speed recovery and reduce DOMS (muscle soreness) and stiffness, try taking a 10-minute shower with alternating water temperatures such as one minute with cold water, two minutes with warm water, and so on until the 10-minutes are up. It may not be the most comfortable experience but itll help you in the long-term.”

    Xtend-Life Expert - June 29 2010

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