As you already know, arthritis is a disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. The most common form, osteoarthritis - also known as degenerative joint disease - is the leading cause of chronic disability in the US.
Arthritis sufferers experience a lot of pain, typically localized to the affected joint. This pain happens because of local inflammation, daily wear and tear and muscle strains caused by forceful movements and fatigue. Other symptoms include tenderness, morning stiffness and joint locking.
Treatment generally involves some combination of exercise, lifestyle modification and painkillers. If the pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery is typically used to restore quality of life.
According to Dr. Christine Horner, diet is a powerful way to lower inflammation levels inside your body, even reverse arthritis without the need for either medications or surgery!
She points out that refined carbs, sugary foods such as cake, cookies and sweets, crackers, potato and corn chips - and red meat - are pro-inflammatory foods that create conditions favorable for arthritis, and can actually trigger it.
On the other hand, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables as well as the essential omega-3 fats are well-known anti-inflammatory foods.
In fact, according to Dr. Horner, omega-3 fats are the most anti-inflammatory foods we can consume. Among the omega-3 fats, those from fish oil - known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - are the most potent.
Omega-3 fats are converted within our body into biologically active substances called eicosanoids, which control many bodily functions such as muscle contraction, blood thickness and inflammation levels.
Some of the effects caused by omega-3 fats in our body are because of the actions of eicosanoids, but these essential fats also act inside cells in many other ways.
In fact, both animal experiments and clinical studies have shown that omega-3 fats in fish oil can significantly benefits the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including osteoarthritis.
For example - in a 2006 study, 250 patients who had nonsurgical neck or back pain were asked to take a total of 1,200 mg of EPA and DHA daily, from fish oil supplements. Approximately a month after starting the supplement, they answered a questionnaire.
Of the 250 patients, 125 returned the questionnaire. Of these, 59 patients said they had completely discontinued their prescription painkillers thanks to the fish oil supplement. Overall, 60% stated that their joint pain had improved, while 88% said they would continue to take the fish oil. No significant side effects were reported.
In other words, omega-3 fish oil supplements are a safe and equally effective alternative to prescription painkillers for treatment of joint pain.