University of Bristol researchers have found for the first time that omega-3 in fish oil could “substantially and significantly” reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis.
In their study, omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 per cent compared to a standard diet, Science Daily reported.
The research is a major step forward in showing that omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, or even prevent it occurring, confirming anecdotal reports and “old wives’ tales” about the benefits of fish oil for joint health.
Lead researcher Dr John Tarlton, from the Matrix Biology Research group at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences, said classic early signs of the condition, such as the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with omega-3.
“Furthermore, there was strong evidence that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease, but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis,” he said.