Do fish oil supplements help ease joint pain?

According to the scientific literature, it seems fish oil supplements might provide some joint pain relief for regular users, while presenting a very low risk of adverse effects.

Several products labelled as natural are available in pharmacies and health food stores to relieve joint pain. Their safety and efficacy claims are many, and their pool of potential buyers is large, but the use of many of these supplements rests on very little scientific proof.

According to the scientific literature, however, it seems fish oil supplements might provide some joint pain relief for regular users, while presenting a very low risk of adverse effects. Studies suggest that fish oils act by inhibiting the production of substances that contribute to joint inflammation and the pain it causes. The most commonly studied fish oils are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, a few studies have also shown cardiovascular benefits associated with a regular intake of fish oil.

A recent study found that taking a daily dose of at least three grams of an EPA-DHA mixture, for twelve weeks or longer, could reduce morning stiffness and the number of sore joints. Some participants even reported that they were able to reduce their daily use of anti-inflammatory drugs. Fish oil supplements cause very few adverse effects.

If you suffer from joint pain and are looking for another way to ease it, trying fish oil supplements appears to be a worthwhile option. In order to see if they are truly effective, you must take the supplements every day for several weeks. Choose a product that only contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Avoid products that also contain omega-6 or omega-9 fatty acids, as the typical Canadian diet is very high in omega-6 and your body produces all the omega-9 it requires. For further information, consult your pharmacist!

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