Scientists have uncovered further evidence that cod liver oil can benefit people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
A study published in the journal Rheumatology showed that people taking a cod liver oil supplement could cut their reliance on anti-inflammatory drugs by more than 30 percent.
Many patients with rheumatoid arthritis take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which include ibuprofen. But in high doses these have been linked to side-effects including increased risk of heart attacks, strokes and gastrointestinal bleeding. That's because often, doses given for conditions like arthritis are much higher than for people who use the drugs as occasional painkillers.
The study, by experts at the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, U.K., and the University of Dundee, analyzed 97 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who took the anti-inflammatories.
They were given either 10g of cod liver oil containing 2.2g of n-3 (omega-3) essential fatty acids, or "dummy" pills.
Details were recorded at the start of the study and after four, 12, 24 and 36 weeks.
At 12 weeks, patients were instructed to gradually reduce and, if possible, stop their anti-inflammatory intake.
A total of 58 patients (60 percent) completed the study.
The findings? Out of 49 patients in the cod liver oil group, 19 (39 percent) were able to cut their daily anti-inflammatory requirement by more than 30 percent at the nine-month point.
Out of 48 patients in the placebo group, just five (10 percent) were able to reduce their daily anti-inflammatory requirement by more than 30 percent.
No difference was observed in the clinical parameters of how the disease behaved during this time.
The authors said, "This study suggests that cod liver oil supplements containing n-3 fatty acids can be used as NSAID-sparing agents in RA patients."
The findings were important at a time when there were increasing concerns about adverse effects of using the anti-inflammatories, they said.
Professor Jill Belch, from the Ninewells Hospital and Medical School in Dundee, said, "This study offers hope to many rheumatoid arthritis patients for whom cod liver oil supplements can offer a natural pain management treatment without the harmful side effects associated with the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
"It reinforces previous research that has shown cod liver oil, and its high content of omega-3 essential fatty acids, to have significant anti-inflammatory properties in patients with rheumatoid arthritis."
Source: Yorkshire Post. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. Powered by Yellowbrix.
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