According to research published in Rheumatology, if people at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis consume more omega-3 fatty acids, they can probably decrease their chances of developing the disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints and can lead to fatigue, disability, a lower quality of life, joint deformity and premature death.
It is caused when the body’s immune system produces autoantibodies which wrongly target the body’s tissues and organs causing inflammation in the tissues that help joints move.
Family history can predict whether a person is likely to have the autoantibodies that precede the disease’s development.
The researchers found that two of the crucial omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, may be effective in suppressing a particular protein that regulates the intensity and duration of the immune response.
Principal investigator Jill Norris, PHD, a professor in the department of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health, comments “There was a very substantial difference in the blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids between the people who took omega-3 supplements and those who did not.”
The results seemed to indicate that omega-3 may protect against rheumatoid arthritis by preventing it’s development during the period before symptoms emerge. Women are 3 times more likely to have it than men and it’s prevalence appears to be increasing.
What are the natural food sources of omega-3?
Natural food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include the following:
- walnuts and flaxseeds
- beans such as soy beans and kidney beans
- fish such as salmon, halibut, fresh tuna, herrings and mackerel
- olive oil and rapeseed oil
- leafy green vegetables including kale, spinach and watercress
The researchers recommend following a healthy balanced diet that includes some of the above, as well as taking between 1 and 3 grams of fish oil a day for those who may be at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in order to decrease the risk of developing them.
Finally, if you would like to receive regular health updates especially geared for the over 50s, please follow us on Facebook.