Omega 3 fatty acids in arthritis by drdoc on-line


There are chemicals in the body called prostaglandins.
These mediate chemical effects on cells.

Some of the chemicals follow an aggressive inflammation path.
These are called the cyclooxygenase group. They cause inflammation and pain.

Some follow an anti-inflammatory path.
These are called lipoxygenase group and include the omega 3 and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are beneficial to the body

These polyunsaturated fatty acids compete with linoleic acid in the arachidonic acid pathway, thereby reducing the cyclooxygenase pathway of arachidonic acid to prostaglandin E2 and thromboxane A2, which are both important in mediating inflammation.

Dietary sources of the omega-3 fatty acids and linoleic acid include salmon, mackerel, eels, nuts and vegetables.

These acids inhibit the cyclooxygenase formation of the prostaglandin 2 series, and increase production of the 3 series prostaglandins and leukotriene's of the 5 series.

Evening primrose oil contains gammalinolenic acid, an n-6 fatty acid which is converted to dihomogammalinolenic acid, an analogue of arachidonic acid.

This may act as precursor to the prostaglandins of the 1 series, e.g., PGE, which has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic action.

However, in terms of reducing the severity of inflammation, they do not appear to be of primary importance in the development of the disease.

Nevertheless there is an anti-inflammatory effect by using omega 3 fatty acids and i encourage their use.

There is a small but SIGNIFICANT BENEFIT for inflammatory arthritis. This has been shown in several trials.

Marine oil is the best source of omega 3 and is best for arthritis. Primrose oil or flax oil are not as good for arthritis but are good in eczemas

Therefore i have continued to prescribe marine oil for my patients with arthritis for many years.
Plus - I always encourage more fish and less red meat as part of the diet in patients with arthritis.

Remember - They do not replace disease modifying drugs in arthritis.


arachidonic acid

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