About Rheumatoid arthritis:
Rheumatoid arthritis is an incessant disorder known to affect many tissues organs and order but primarily the supple joints of our body. It is an autoimmune disease (diseases that occur due to the body tissues being mistakenly attacked by their immune system), but the exact cause of this disease is still unknown. Patients suffering from RA have been known to experience long phases without any of its symptoms although it has the potential to cause significant functional disability and ruination of joints. Its symptoms are characterized by intense joint pain and stiffness, fever, fatigue along with swollen joints. It is a common disease affecting all types of people of different ages though reports suggest that women are thrice as likely to suffer from the disease as men. Years of research have gone into uncovering the cause of this disease but researchers are yet to find out the preventive measures for it, however with the right treatment, a can be well managed.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids and how does it help?
Based on comprehensive research studies, a natural route to lessen the severity of this disease is to include Omega 3 fatty acids in our daily diet. The following sections are know-how on the Omega 3 foods and why it is a must for RA patients to treat the illness.
Omega-3 Fatty acids Yes, the same “good fat” you heard about in health forums and magazines, are a type of healthy fat which the human body doesn’t produce but can only acquire through diet. There is strong clinical evidence that show that these essential fats can reduce inflammation of joints (a common symptom of RA). Seventeen clinical trials in the U.S carried out a detailed analysis of the pain-relieving effects of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements and foods among RA patients, and the studies did suggest that along with therapies and good regular exercise, Omega-3 fatty acids can significantly soothe the pains and symptoms associated with this illness. There is no doubt that these facts show great promise in providing relief from inflammation. Nevertheless, it is always recommended and beneficial to start up a new diet regimen by consulting your physician.
Omega-3 fatty acids occur in two forms-
1) Long chain forms (DHA, EPA)
These can be found in oily fishes like
The American Heart Association(AHA) advocates having 3 ounces of these fishes at least twice a week while some British dietary guidelines endorse eating 2.7 grams of these long chain fatty acids(EPA and DHA) and consuming omega-3 supplements in the form of capsules.
2)Short chain forms(ALA)
These are found in plant forms like
⦁ canola oil
⦁ flax oil
Though these are quite a useful alternative for vegetarians, the body doesn’t utilize it as much as the animal based omega-3.A good course for vegetarians would be to consume these on a regular basis.
US Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services have conducted various surveys and researchers and the results have consistently proven that moderate consumption of fish body oil is linked to lower risks of joints and tissue pains.
A new clinical research recently suggested that female patients who are in the habit of consuming diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids from fish sources are less likely to suffer from RA than their counterparts who avoid having fish.
There is more to it.
The University of Newcastle in Australia conducted a study in which 50-odd people were asked to take 40mg/kg of fish oil (contains around 60% of omega-3) or placebo on a regular basis for 15 weeks. The results were extraordinary. The fish oil group had an average life span of 55 years with a disease-suffering period of a dozen years compared to the placebo group who even though averaging about 60 years of age, had a miserable 15 years of disease-suffering phase. It has also been reported that substituting the consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids with omega-6 acids in our diets lessens the inflammatory mediators of RA and consequently reduces the dependency on nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also known as NSAIDs among patients. Dr James MJ from Rheumatology Unit in The Royal Adelaide Hospital Australia did a research on the “Utility of Omega-3 fatty acids for treatment of joint inflammatory diseases” along with two other researchers and came to the conclusion that there was sufficient evidence of beneficial effects of fish oil in RA and it’s biological credibility on clinical impacts. To determine the clinical outcomes, Korean researchers from the Korean University College of Medicine undertook a study to evaluate the symptoms on the effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) on patients with RA. The results were not very different. The meta-analysis yet again proved that omega-3 PUFA’s critically reduced NSAID consumption. Tender joint count, swollen joint count, morning stiffness and physical function showed a notable improvement among the PUFA’s treated patients when compared to placebo-treated patients. Among all the fatty acids, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids possess the most dominant immune-modulatory characteristics. Among them, fish oils are the most biologically potent ones.Omega-3 fatty acid does influence the rate of production of eicosanoids hormones, which play a key role in the body’s inflammatory and homeostatic processes. The long chain forms of Omeg-3 fatty acids (EPA, DHA) are the preferred forms for inflammatory joints, but the short chain forms can also be transformed into the long chain forms within the body, though the clinical evidence of the short-chain forms being able to provide the same beneficiary effects for arthritis as that of long-chain forms is yet to be confirmed by various medical researchers. There is undeviating evidence that double-blind placebo trials that were supplied by Omega fats have beneficial effects on RA due to their ability to suppress inflammatory mediators like omega-6 eicosanoids and pro- inflammatory cytokines. Not only rheumatoid arthritis but other inflammatory types of arthritis such as reactive arthritis, ankylosing, spondylitis and psoriasis arthritis have also been shown to be cured by consuming omega-3 fatty acids along with strong doses of Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARD’s) like methotrexate. Some omega-3 fatty acids do exert certain effects on women during the bleeding time, but there are no cases of abnormal bleeding due to its consumption as of now. Higher dosages of fish oils may well shoot up cholesterol levels but can be maintained by leading a healthy and active lifestyle.
One year supplementation of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were provided to patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, who were asked to participate in a current study. The authors found that patients with high intake of these supplements had a lower rate of failure in first-line treatment. Only 10% of these patients experienced a failure in the DMARD’s. In contrast, 32% patients the other group who were given relatively low dosage levels reported DMARD’s failure. This signified that for a group of patients, first line supplements and fish oil supplementation was sufficient to ensure their disorder did not further deteriorate.
People with RA suffer from an overactive immune system that results in destroying their body’s tissues. Charles Serhan, Director at Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury, Harvard Medical School, Boston was the lead researcher in a study to examine the benefits of omega-3 for the human body. His research concluded that the same course that indicates the beginning of inflammation also includes an off-switch.Omega-3 permutes into more potent mixtures( 10,000 times more than the original fatty acids) and thus help in ceasing the active processes responsible for degrading tissues and organs of the body
Some omega-3 fatty acids do exert certain effects on women during the bleeding time, but there are no cases of abnormal bleeding due to its consumption as of now. Higher dosages of fish oils may well shoot up cholesterol levels but can be maintained by leading a healthy and active lifestyle. The US Food and Drug Administration also advises pregnant women and young children to avoid certain kinds of fishes and prefer those which contain lower levels of mercury. The important to remember is that Omega-3 fatty acids are not going to help cure Rheumatoid arthritis, but only going to reduce the pain of its worst symptoms. Dr. Adams, a professor of Medicine and Rheumatology, says “Some studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce joint pains and inflammations, the studies are good, but the evidence scant and effects are modest at its best.” The encouraging part is that these fatty acid supplements have no cases of grave toxicity reported.
Thus ,with years of detailed analysis, researchers by countless professionals in the field of medicine proving the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids, it comes as little surprise that the study of these acids in recent decades has become of much interest in the medical world, and they can certainly score over ‘painkillers’ for arthritis sufferers.
Ways to incorporate Omega-3 Fatty acids into your diet!
Do not fret over how to include these “essential fats” into your diet. Here are simple and effective means to help you have your daily dosage of omega-3.
- Fish-Fishes are a rich source of (EPA and DHA), and 2-3 servings of the types mentioned above of fishes as stated earlier are a good way to boost your Omega-3 acids intake,
- Eggs-They is enriched with omega-3 acids in their yolks and has lower levels of saturated fat and cholesterol levels. Having two egg yolks early morning can do wonders for your joints for a long period
- Vegetable oils-Vegetarians have relatively lower levels of Omega-3 intakes and one way to boost their EPA, and DHA levels are to include plenty of vegetable oils in their diet. Walnut oil and flax seeds oil are cost effective foods containing a good amount of these acids.
- Meat-Mammalian brains and eyes (including humans) are extremely rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Pork, beef, lamb, kangaroo meat can be consumed by non-vegetarians.
This article along with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle can be a useful diagnosis for arthritis sufferers looking for a new way to stabilize their ailments.