Fish oil is said to have a number of health benefits; it's good for your heart, eyes and brain, and it also promotes the health of hair, skin and nails. Fish oil is made from cold water fish, like cod, mackerel and salmon. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, which help to relieve inflammation and can therefore be of some help to those suffering from arthritis.
The Causes of Arthritis Pain
Though there are many types of arthritis, the most common, osteoarthritis, can be a result of old age or of joint deformity or malfunction. Arthritis pain typically occurs when the cartilage in your joints deteriorates, allowing bones to rub together. This causes pain, inflammation and swelling.
Doctors believe that fish oil is of the most benefit to those suffering from inflammatory forms of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and lupus. These are autoimmune diseases that cause pain and swelling in the joints.
How Fish Oil Can Help Relieve Arthritis Pain
Fish oil helps relieve the pain of inflammatory arthritis, because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Your body can use omega-3 fatty acids to make a chemical known as resolvin D2, which fights inflammation. Because arthritis pain involves inflammation, fish oil can help to relieve pain and symptoms over time. It's not a painkiller and you'll need to use it for a few weeks before you feel any benefit, but you should experience a reduction in pain and stiffness by using fish oil to treat arthritis pain.
Fish Oil Dosages for Arthritis Pain Relief
You might think that eating fish would be a great way to get fish oil, and you're right, but it's hard to eat enough fish to reach the dosage levels doctors recommend for the treatment of arthritis pain. You should take a supplement; you can buy them in either gel cap or chewable form. Here are the recommended dosages:
- Raynaud's phenomenon: 1 g four times daily
- Rheumatoid arthritis: 2.6 g twice daily
- Psoriatic arthritis and lupus: 2 g three times daily
These are high dosages; they're much higher than the dosages many people to take to maintain cardiovascular health and cognitive function. They're also higher than the dosages required to maintain healthy eye sight and healthy skin and hair.
Choosing a Fish Oil Supplement
If you're looking for a fish oil supplement to treat your arthritis pain, you should choose a high grade supplement; lower grade supplements may contain chemicals, like mercury, that could be dangerous. Look for reputable brand name products; when in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.
A Word of Caution
While fish oil may relieve the pain and inflammation of arthritis, it doesn't slow the progress of the disease. It can also inhibit your blood's ability to clot, increasing your risk of bleeding and hemorrhage. If you're taking NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or any other medication, like blood thinners, that increase your risks of bleeding and hemorrhage, be careful when using fish oil supplements at the high doses required to relieve arthritis pain.