More Omega 3 fatty acids my have a role in treating the symptoms of arthritis

“There’s no secret to it…it’s all in the wrist.”

That is all the explanation you give your flabbergasted next-door-neighbor as you swagger away. What is this about? Oh, nothing…nothing other than the fact you have just beaten him again in your annual community tennis league—for the third year in a row.

“There’s no secret to it…it’s all in the wrist.”

You have been getting used to it, though, because you have been saying that a lot lately. Whether it is a casual game of golf, or a friendly bowling match, or a rigorous 40 minutes of basketball, or (for goodness’ sake) even a round of poker…you are in a winning streak. And you give the same explanation each and every time: “There’s no secret to it…it’s all in the wrist.”

So, if it is all in the wrist, then you would certainly want to take care of that wrist, right? And while you are at it, you might as well take care of your other joints, too. After all, how much good will your wrist do you without your elbow…and shoulder…and so on. Will it still be “all in the wrist” if it (or your other joints) ever becomes arthritic? Probably not.Omega 3 in beef

Arthritis! Who, me?

I think it is safe to say that no one ever wants to have to pass up on the best that life offers simply because of arthritis. Yet the fact is millions have had to sit in the sidelines because arthritis would not let them participate. And the count continues as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention gives this gloomy forecast: “The number of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis is projected to increase to 67 million by 2030, and more than one-third of these adults will have limited activity as a result.” You read it right, 67 million by 2030. It is a good bet you do not want to be part of that statistic 20 years from now.

Understanding Arthritis

Arthritis—from the Greek word arthron (meaning, “joint”) and the Latin itis (meaning, “inflammation”)—is an umbrella term that covers over a hundred types of inflammatory joint diseases (the most common is osteoarthritis). Taken together, these make up the most common chronic illness in the United States.

The etiology (disease origin) of arthritis varies with the different types, but there are common signs and symptoms and risk factors:

Common Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis

  • The four indicators of inflammation:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Warmth
  • Redness
  • Discomfort
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue

Common Risk Factors for Arthritis

  • Advancing age: With a few exceptions (juvenile idiopathic arthritis, for example), incidence of most types of arthritis increase with age.
  • Gender: Women are more prone to most types of arthritis than men (gout is an exception).
  • Genetic factors: Some genes have been specifically associated with certain types of arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are very good examples).
  • Obesity: Excess weight tends to put more pressure on weight-bearing joints (the knees, in particular).
  • Joint infection: Various microbial joint infections have been known to contribute to the progression of arthritis.
  • Occupational factors: These may include occupations that regularly put stress on joints, poor ergonomics in the workplace, and the like.

You will notice that among the risk factors, only the first three are beyond your control; the rest you can do something about.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Arthritis

While omega-3 fatty acids are not a sort of “umbrella prescription” for arthritis (they do not actually cure arthritis), they have nonetheless been known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, and these have been the focus of several clinical studies. Consider the following excerpt from an article by the University of Maryland Medical Center:

A number of small studies have found that fish oil helps reduce symptoms of RA [rheumatoid arthritis], including joint pain and morning stiffness. One study suggests that people with RA who take fish oil may be able to lower their dose of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). However, unlike prescription medications, fish oil does not appear to slow progression of RA, only to treat the symptoms….

New Zealand green lipped mussel (Perna canaliculus), another potential source of omega-3 fatty acids, has been reported to reduce joint stiffness and pain, increase grip strength, and improve walking pace in a small group of people with osteoarthritis. For some people, symptoms got worse before they improved.

If these words are to be trusted, then we can perhaps say that while the therapeutic effects of omega-3 fatty acids on certain types of arthritis have yet to be established empirically, the trend nonetheless appears to be pointing in that direction.

Considering the incredible number of people who suffer from arthritis, it is no wonder that many have jumped into the “Omega-3 band wagon”. Health professionals continue to look for the piece that will complete the “arthritis/Omega-3 puzzle”, entrepreneurs continue to maneuver for good position in the health industry, and sufferers continue to be happy to oblige them for the sake of that elusive long-term relief.

As for you, take care of that wrist, will you? After all, there is no secret to it….

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