London: Omega-3 in fish oil could "substantially and significantly" reduce the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis and slow its progression.
Omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced disease by 50 percent compared to a standard diet, according to a University of Bristol study.
Omega-3 fatty acids, either sourced from fish oil or flax oil, may help to slow down the progression of osteoarthritis, or even prevent it from occurring, confirming "old wives` tales" about the benefits of fish oil for joint health, the journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage reports.
John Tarlton, from the University of Bristol`s School of Veterinary Sciences, who led the study, said typical symptoms, such as the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with Omega-3.
"Furthermore, there was strong evidence that Omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis," he said, according to a Bristol statement.
Tarlton added: "The only way of being certain that the effects of Omega-3 are as applicable to humans as demonstrated in guinea pigs is to apply Omega-3 to humans.
"Most diets in the developed world are lacking in Omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much Omega-6 and too little Omega-3.
"Taking Omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis," Tarlton concludes.