Arthritis is a condition that seems to have an ancient history. And now, after medical professionals have spent centuries developing newer and better treatments, one arthritis remedy seems to hold certain archaic qualities.
There are more than one hundred different types of arthritis, most sharing similar chronic and painful symptoms. Patients suffer with swelling of the affected area, morning stiffness, sharp and throbbing pain, localized or widespread pain, and loss of mobility ranging from mild to severe.
Just as arthritis can present itself in many different forms, there is also a huge range of treatment options. These vary from conventional drug therapies to alternative methods such as specialized yoga. Every arthritis case is unique and so, not every treatment method will bring the same results all patients.
There is also an interesting shift underway that is affecting the way that doctors treat patients with arthritis. Natural medicine is becoming mainstream, and alternative treatment options are becoming an acceptable part of arthritis therapies. Fish oil is one of the latest trends that doctors and nutritionists are excited about.
Fish oil is known to be rich in two types of omega-3 fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Both of these omega-3 fatty acids are highly respected and well documented for their abilities to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. These strong anti-inflammatory properties make fish oils a natural choice for arthritis sufferers. Of course, patients do have questions. Do fish oils work as arthritis treatments? More importantly, can fish oil actually relieve pain?
Most alternative medicine therapies are relatively new and, as a result, can lack the sufficient medical and scientific research needed to provide definite proof. As such, fish oil has yet to be proven effective in clinical trials. However, early research findings are encouraging.
Recent laboratory studies and clinical trials have suggested that because the omega-3 structure of fish oil makes it helpful in reducing the morning muscle stiffness and joint pain suffered by so many arthritis patients. Researchers have not yet determined the appropriate dosage required for maximum effectiveness, or the appropriate durations of fish oil treatment programs.
There are possible side effects to fish oil supplementation that patients need to be aware of:
In some cases, fish oil has created risks by affecting the blood's clotting abilities. In other words, some patients may find that fish oil affects the time it takes for the blood to clot. In cases where the patient is already taking medication to affect the clotting of blood, this is an important issue to consider.
Lower Blood Pressure
Fish oil supplements have also been shown to interact with blood pressure medications. It has been suggested that supplementing the diet wit fish oil while taking high blood pressure medications may cause the blood pressure to decrease significantly.
Fish oil can contain significant and potentially dangerous levels of contaminants. Fish contains naturally-occurring mercury, making fish oil a poor choice for some patients. There may be serious risk associated with the consumption of fish oil, particularly to young children, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Tuna, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and shark typically contain the highest levels of mercury.
If you are interested in trying fish oil for arthritis but worried about the risks, search for oils from fishes that tend to be lower in mercury. You'll have to do a bit of digging to find this information, but the results are worth the efforts.
While patients should be aware of the concerns before starting fish oil therapy for arthritis, there are few side effects once they start taking the supplements. Those possible side effects, such as gas and other stomach disturbances, are usually relatively minor.
Arthritis is not new, but alternative treatment options have promised new relief for patients. Seek the advice of a trusted herbalist or medical practitioner to learn more about fish oil and other alternative arthritis treatments.