According to a new study which has just been published in the journal, Rheumatology, cod liver oil may help to reduce the need for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers to take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications.
NSAIDs are the most commonly prescribed treatment for those suffering from the pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis, however, due to the adverse side effects associated with these and many other prescriptive medications such as gastrointestinal bleeding and cardiovascular problems, a search for safer, natural and more acceptable alternatives has come about.
Recent research studied 97 people currently taking NSAIDs who were randomly assigned to take either a placebo capsule or 1000mg of a combination of cod liver oil and fish oils containing a total of 150mg of eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and 70mg of docosahexaenoic (DHA) fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E.
After nine months, 19 out of 49 people who were taking a daily supplement of cod liver oil were able reduce the amount of NSAIDs they had previously been taking by 30% compared with only 5 out of 48 people taking a placebo. In addition, those taking cod liver oil reported significant improvements in pain compared to those in the placebo group.
Dr. Bernat Galarraga from the vascular and inflammatory diseases research unit at Ninewells Hospital and Medical school in Dundee, Scotland concluded that “fish oil supplementation should be considered in rheumatoid arthritis patients to help them reduce their NSAID intake in order to reduce the risks adverse side effects”.
This new study supports previous research into the beneficial effects of cod liver oil on rheumatoid arthritis due to its rich content of essential fatty acids which provide anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce the swelling of inflamed joints, a key characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent figures show that between 60-90% of rheumatoid arthritis patients use natural alternatives.