knee pain

Let’s Talk About Your Knees’ Needs: How Omega-3s Support Joint Health

Healthy joints are essential for optimizing your longevity, but can often be overlooked until aches and pains start to come knocking …

Do your knees ache in the morning? Are stairs starting to be a nuisance? Or do you want to continue running and playing tennis for another 20, 30, or 40 years?

Current data shows that over 40% of people will develop osteoarthritis (OA) in their lifetime. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage or the cushioning in your joints, wears down. As a result of reduced cushioning, individuals will develop OA symptoms of pain and inflammation. In advanced cases, there can be bone-on-bone contact.

Not surprisingly OA is the most common cause of disability worldwide and typically starts affecting the knees, ankles, and wrists. Over time, it begins to limit the range of motion of the joints due to inflammation but also decreases the time the joint can be used in daily activities as a result of painful symptoms.

 

How do Omega-3s Help?

Omega-3 fats work to resolve inflammation in the body; higher levels of omega-3 are associated with lower levels of inflammation and pain in inflammatory conditions like OA. Recent results from a clinical trial of omega-3 therapy for knee OA showed therapy resulted in no loss of cartilage during two years of therapy. Participants also reported improved pain and functionality during the trial. Clinical data shows that omega-3s can support the health of cartilage cells and stop the progression of cartilage breakdown following joint injury.

 Further research shows that omega-3s can help to reduce painful symptoms from OA by altering our perception of pain while supporting cartilage health. This essential fat acts on the same pathway as NSAID drugs to resolve inflammation and neuroinflammation, which in turn reduces pain.

Omega-3s also help to counteract the effects of omega-6 fats. These essential fats have opposing effects on the body. While omega-3s resolve inflammation and reduce pain, omega-6 fats promote inflammation and pain. Though each is essential for health, our current diet has a disproportionately high amount of omega-6s. As a result, our body is predisposed to inflammation and omega-3 therapy works to restore a healthy balance.

 

Your optimum health takeaway

Healthy joints are essential for your longevity and for optimal health and performance. While joint health is often overlooked until symptoms of OA arise, being proactive with daily omega-3 nutrition therapy is important for keeping your cartilage healthy and resolving inflammation that can cause pain.

 

References:

  1. Hill, Catherine L et al. Fish oil in knee osteoarthritis: a randomised clinical trial of low dose versus high dose. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases 2015; 75(1): 23-9. 
  2. Jhun J, Na HS, Cho KH, et al. A green-lipped mussel reduces pain behavior and chondrocyte inflammation and attenuated experimental osteoarthritis progression. PLoS One. 2021;16(12):e0259130. 
  3. Sibille KT, King C, Garrett TJ, et al. Omega-6: Omega-3 PUFA Ratio, Pain, Functioning, and Distress in Adults With Knee Pain. Clinical Journal of Pain. 2018;34(2):182-189.
  4. Simopoulos AP. Evolutionary aspects of diet, the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and genetic variation: nutritional implications for chronic diseases. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2006;60:502–507.
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