ALBANY, NEW YORK. Rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic inflammatory disease involving an excessive release of leukotriene B4 and interleukin 1 in the body. Both animal experiments and human studies have shown that supplementation with fish oils reduces the release of these inflammatory compounds and in the process relieves the common arthritis symptoms of morning stiffness and tender joints. Dr. Joel Kremer of the Albany Medical College has summarized the current knowledge concerning fish oils and rheumatoid arthritis and concludes that taking 3-6 grams daily of fish oils (n-3 dietary fatty acids) for 12 weeks or more will significantly diminish joint pain and morning stiffness in RA patients.
Several studies have shown that the improvement in some patients is significant enough to allow them to materially reduce or completely discontinue their use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as diclofenac and naproxen. Dr. Kremer also points out that fish oil supplementation has been found to benefit patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
Kremer, Joel M. n-3 fatty acid supplements in rheumatoid arthritis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 71 (suppl), January 2000, pp. 349S-51S