Researchers have demonstrated that omega-3 in flax or fish oil could quite possibly prevent osteoarthritis, as well as reduce osteoarthritis symptoms. Guinea pigs naturally develop osteoarthritis, and after being fed omega-3-rich diets, osteoarthritis was reduced by 50% in comparison to a standard diet.
The study is a significant development in demonstrating that omega-3 fatty acids, sourced either from flax oil or fish oil, could help in slowing down the osteoarthritis process, or even prevent osteoarthritis from happening, confirming reports regarding the benefits of fish oil for healthy joints. Omega-3 reduced classic early signs of osteoarthritis, like the collagen in cartilage degradation and also the loss of molecules which give it cushioning properties.
The evidence was also strong that omega-3 has an effect on osteoarthritis biochemistry, and consequently not only helps in preventing osteoarthritis, but slows the progression as well, with the potential to control already established osteoarthritis.
The only way to be sure that the effects of omega-3 on osteoarthritis are as relevant to humans as have been shown in guinea pigs is by applying omega-3 to humans. Guinea pig osteoarthritis is however perhaps the best model for osteoarthritis that occurs naturally, and the usage of omega-3 in human osteoarthritis is supported by all of the evidence.
The possibility that omega-3 fatty acids may prevent the development of osteoarthritis has been an enticing one. Some earlier research in dogs indicated that understanding the potential use of omega-3 in humans for osteoarthritis is still a long way off. This current study in guinea pigs however brings us closer to an understanding of how omega-3 could impact the process of osteoarthritis, and that it could be a potential treatment.