Can Omega 3 help joint health?

Benefits of Omega 3 fish oil for joints and arthritis

Being strong enough to carry your heavy shopping. Being fit enough to run around after your kids. What does a healthy body mean to you? While muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness are vital, the third pillar of health is suppleness. In fact when it comes to living well as we age, it’s essential.

Maintaining healthy joints throughout your life means you’ll be able to carry on doing all the things you take for granted, like driving or putting your socks on. But sadly, taking action to keep our bodies limber tends to be something we put on the back-burner, until the day we find we can’t bend to tie our shoelaces.

Normal wear and tear as well as conditions like arthritis can make you seize up, but there are plenty of simple things you can do to fight back against joint pain. Like taking a good Omega 3 fish oil for joints and tendons. This essential fat, found in the body of oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, helps soothe inflammation and stiffness from within, keeping joints supple and healthy for life.

But why is fish oil good for joints? And how does it stack up against other supplements such as glucosamine, krill and cod liver oil when it comes to keeping all your moving parts pain-free? Our Omega 3 guide for arthritis and joints explains how fish oil can help and how it may provide relief from the symptoms of these conditions.

Why is fish oil good for joints?

Fish oil contains generous doses of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), two essential fatty acids that have been shown to decrease inflammation in the joints. These fatty acids are incorporated into cartilage cells where they decrease the enzymes that can degrade this flexible tissue over time. They can also help increase blood flow during exercise, leaving your joints less prone to injury.

Should I eat oily fish or take a fish oil supplement for joints?

A widely cited Swedish study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, found that eating just one portion of oily fish a week was enough to halve the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory condition that attacks the joints. In addition to this, large population studies have shown that in countries such as Japan, where oily fish is eaten daily, there are far fewer cases of rheumatoid arthritis.

That’s great if you love tucking into sashimi every day. But if you’re finding it hard to even eat just one portion of oily fish a week, you’re not alone, and taking a supplement is a great idea to make sure you’re getting enough Omega 3 to keep your joints healthy.

However, if you’re thinking of using Omega 3 for joint pain relief or to help with conditions like arthritis, a high quality, clinical strength supplement like Bare Biology’s Lion Heart fish oil liquid is the only way you’ll be able to get the kind of therapeutic doses you need to see improvement in your symptoms.

Can fish oil help joint pain?

We’ve talked about how essential fatty acids can keep joints generally supple and healthy. But if you’re already feeling achy and stiff, is Omega 3 good for joint pain too? The evidence all suggests it is. In a study published in the Global Journal of Health Science, patients with swollen and tender joints were given a daily Omega 3 supplement. After three months 77% of participants saw a 70% improvement in their condition, so much so that many of them were able to use less pain relieving medications.

What is the link between diet and joint pain?

Whether you’re achy in the morning or you’ve been diagnosed with a condition like arthritis, a recent survey conducted on behalf of Arthritis Research UK suggests that 65% of women in the UK experience some kind of joint pain. But why do so many of us suffer?

Research suggests there is a strong link between our diets and whether or not we’ll experience joint pain. Some foods are known to trigger inflammation, which can worsen the symptoms of conditions such as arthritis, or leave us more vulnerable to developing it.

Highly implicated in joint pain are the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 fats that are in virtually everything we eat in the West. From processed foods such as granola, to the vegetable and seed oils we cook with and even the animals we eat. Omega 6 fats are everywhere. Although we do need them in our diets, Omega 6 fatty acids are converted in the body into inflammation-causing chemicals. In contrast, Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory to our joints, but we don’t eat enough of them in our daily diets to counterbalance the damaging effects of too much Omega 6.

If our ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 were more balanced there simply wouldn't be as much Omega 6 circulating in our bodies to produce inflammation.

How does Omega 3 provide joint pain relief?

If your body just doesn’t seem to bounce back after a day of activity like it used to, leaving your joints feeling stiff and inflamed, there is some good news and the evidence linking fish oil and joint pain is clear. Omega 3 is particularly good at soothing inflammation, wherever it occurs in the body.

There are two kinds of inflammation. Acute inflammation is useful to us, appearing when we’re fighting off an illness. It’s the redness and warmth you feel when you’ve got a scratch or a wound. The other kind is more insidious and you may not even notice it at first. Chronic inflammation happens when your body has an inflammatory response when there’s no illness or injury to fight off, causing your body’s immune system to damage its own tissues such as with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega 3 fish oils help relieve joint pain because they produce their own chemicals that seem to "turn off" inflammation. The EPA and DHA in Omega 3 are converted by the body into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals called resolvins, which block inflammatory cytokines and prostaglandins.

“Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids have been shown to help some people with rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Recent research shows they can help even if you're also taking strong disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.”Arthritis research UK

How much fish oil should I take for joint pain?

Research published in the Archives of Medical Research found that patients who took at least 2,700mg of Omega 3 were able to reduce the amounts of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs they were taking, because their joints were much less swollen and tender.

Arthritis.org also recommends the same amount, 2,700mg a day, to see an improvement in joint pain. One tiny teaspoon of clinical strength Lion Heart from Bare Biology has 2,000mg EPA and 1,000mg DHA so it packs a powerful punch. Most leading Omega 3 joint pain relief brands that claim to be powerful only contain 540mg EPA and 360mg DHA per three capsules, meaning you’d have to take 12 each day to get the recommended dose.

What fish oil is best for joints?

When it comes to supplements, the best fish oil for joints is one that is guaranteed to contain low amounts of environmental toxins, high amounts of EPA and DHA and comes from pure, fresh oily fish.

Bare Biology’s Lion Heart Clinical Strength Fish Oil is certified and awarded a 5-star purity and quality rating from International Fish Oil Standards. We also publish our own test results for every batch on our website. Plus it contains a clinical dose of EPA and DHA in every single teaspoon.

Glucosamine vs fish oil for joints?

Both glucosamine and fish oil are popular joint pain relief treatments but which one is best? Leading charity Arthritis UK only give glucosamine supplements a rating of two out of five, however fish oil has been given a rating of five out of five. This is because while glucosamine supplements promote cartilage formation and repair, they do little to help with inflammation that’s common in joint pain. Plus the research confirming the beneficial effects of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate remains very mixed.

How long does Omega 3 take to work for joint pain?

You’re taking your Omega 3 supplement religiously each day, so when can you expect to feel some relief from your achy knee? According to Arthritis Australia, it may take two to three months before you see any improvements in your swollen and tender joints.

What is arthritis?

Arthritis can be a devastating condition that can really damage your quality of life. Painful and sometimes debilitating, it affects one in six of us every day and is the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK.

It’s actually an umbrella term for about 200 conditions that affect the musculoskeletal system, specifically at the joints, the point where two or more bones meet. Osteoarthritis (when the cartilage lining of the joint thins and becomes painful due to rubbing) is the most common form, affecting 33% of those over 45.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common. Unlike osteoarthritis which is caused by wear and tear over time, RA is caused by inflammation. The immune system attacks cells in the joint lining, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. About 400,000 people in the UK are thought to have RA, with three times as many women as men diagnosed.

Omega 3 is proven to help inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and can even help manage some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Is fish oil good for arthritis?

According to Arthritis Research UK, Omega 3 fish oils are helpful for rheumatoid arthritis, reactive arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis - all types of joint pain caused by inflammation.

According to nutritional immunologist Professor Phillip Calder from Southampton University, “what seems to happen is certain ­nutrients dampen the production of these chemicals that trigger inflammatory ­processes.”

So can Omega 3 actually relieve joint pain and arthritis?

Whether you suffer from morning stiffness or you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis, taking Omega 3 can help reduce the symptoms of joint pain, swelling and inflammation. It’s proven to help inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, and can even help manage some of the symptoms of osteoarthritis.  

Of course you may have to wait for three months before you can leap out of bed and you’ll need to take it consistently every day at the high therapeutic dose that’s recommended.

Make sure you choose a brand that is safe and pure, with high levels of EPA and DHA like our Lion Heart Omega 3 fish oil, and always check with your doctor first, particularly if you’re on medications such as blood-thinners or aspirin.

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