Omega 3 Fatty Acid and Prevention of Arthritis

prevention of rheumatoid arthritisThe result is an overall anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic effect of diets rich in long chain omega 3 PUFA relative to omega 6 PUFA dominant diets. Fish oil supplemented diets have also been shown to reduce IL-I and TNF production perhaps due to reduced synthesis of TxA2, which upregulates the synthesis of these cytobines. Because dietary omega 3 fatty acids diets down regulate inflammation, they warrant consideration as preventives of inflammatory diseases, including arthritis.

To be used as a preventive for a disease at a community level, an intervention must meet a number of criteria. These include a biochemical rationale, lack of important unwanted effects, collateral health benefits, support from data in relevant animal models and epidemiological studies. Known therapeutic effects can also be an indicator of a likely favourable prophylactic effect. The candidacy of dietary omega 3 fats in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis, the prototypic inflammatory arthritis, will be assessed against these criteria.

The antithrombotic effects of dietary omega 3 fats appear to be an advantage against a background of diets poor in omega 3 fats. With extreme omega 3 dominant diets, such as those consumed by circumpolar Inuits, who, in their aboriginal state, consume a diet of sea mammals and fish, adverse effects may be seen as a result of antithrombotic actions, eg. Increased bleeding tendency and cerebral hemorrhage. An increase susceptibility to infection remains an unproven possibility. These effects are not likely to occur with omega 3 fortifications of diets containing a broad mixture of agricultural and marine products.


Mike Maunu – Founder