If you suffer from joint pain, inflammation, or arthritis, you have probably heard of Omega-3’s by now. Studies have shown the many benefits of adding Omega 3’s to your diet but there is a lot of information out there. Below, we’ve outlined a few of the key benefits that are important to know. Continue reading to learn more!
EPA & DHA
There are two types of Omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish oil: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). When choosing a supplement, these are the two fatty acids you should look for.
EPA and DHA can reduce inflammation, which causes swelling and pain. It is important to note that research has indicated that both acids together could suppress the body’s immune system. However, a newer, 2016 study suggests that DHA alone may enhance immune function. DHA is more effective at reducing inflammation than EPA, but both have a role. All of these studies have shown fish oil to be potentially beneficial for people with arthritis.
Fish Oil vs Cod Liver Oil for Arthritis
Although both are great sources of Omega-3s, cod liver oil contains high amounts of Vitamin A & Vitamin D which can be toxic if taken in excess. Instead, look for fish oil supplements, and in order to avoid poor quality or false claims, choose a supplement that is third-party tested or has a seal of purity from the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Omega-3s (GOED).
*Always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements, and to check for any potential drug interactions.
Omega-3s have been found to interfere with immune cells called leukocytes and enzymes known as cytokines, which are both key players in the body’s inflammatory response. The anti-inflammatory effects from omega-3s are helpful not just for relieving arthritis, but also for preventing other diseases linked to inflammation, such as heart disease. Omega-3s lower levels of unhealthy blood fats called triglycerides, reduce the growth of plaques that clog arteries, raise levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol and slightly lower blood pressure.
If you would rather get your sources of Omega-3 from fresh fish over fish oil supplements, these are your best options:
Eating a 3-6 ounce serving of these fish 2-4 times per week is recommended for lowering inflammation and protecting the heart. It’s also important to note that the larger the fish, the higher it is in mercury. If possible, opt for the smaller fish to reduce your intake of mercury.
*Check with your doctor or a nutritionist before changing your diet or consuming additional seafood.