Glucosamine and omega-3s for arthritis

In a study published in 2009, a combination of glucosamine and omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish oil) performed the best in reducing arthritis symptoms. According to this research, while glucosamine improves cartilage metabolism, EPA and DHA (two omega-3 fatty acids) further reduce joint deterioration by suppressing inflammation, which lowers swelling and pain.

Although this seems to be the first study that looked closely at the glucosamine / omega-3 fatty acid combination for arthritis, the results are perhaps not so surprising. After all, clinical studies over the past two decades have repeatedly shown the value of omega-3 fatty acids in treating inflammatory conditions ranging from atherosclerosis to osteoarthritis. And a 2005 study found that In people who have osteoarthritis, increased use of omega-3 fatty acids and adequate intake of monounsaturated fatty acids such as olive oil (and decreased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids) can improve symptoms and even sometimes permit a reduction in the use of NSAIDs, the pain killers that can have unwanted long-term side effects (Miggiano GA et al 2005).

Reference: Advances in Therapy 2009: “Effect of glucosamine sulfate with or without omega-3 fatty acids in patients with osteoarthritis” Authors: J. Gruenwald, E. Petzold, R. Busch, H.-P. Petzold, H.-J. Graubaum

For further recommendations, see NYBC entries under
Glucosamine chondroitin (the most common combination used to date in arthritis management), and the fish oil/ omega-3 fatty acid supplement Max DHA.

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