5 Home Remedies for Common Ailments
You’ve heard: “Arthritis pain? Eating fatty fish can help.”
The Truth: There’s intriguing evidence that taking omega-3 fatty acids in the form of supplements and cod-liver oil may help reduce flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.3 million Americans. Omega-3 fatty acids work similarly to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen: they reduce the production of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that cause swelling and pain (i.e., inflammation). And, while “the definitive study has yet to be done,” says John Hardin, M.D., chief scientific officer for the Arthritis Foundation, it’s “reasonable to assume” that the anti-inflammatory actions of omega-3s in supplements and cod-liver oil might also benefit people with osteoarthritis (OA), a much more common form of arthritis.
Could eating fish rich in omega-3s also help? Perhaps: one Greek study found that RA sufferers reported having less pain during Lent, when they followed Lenten rules to eat fish instead of meat. But beyond this circumstantial association, there isn’t any “real” evidence (e.g., clinical study results) that eating fish soothes arthritic aches. Still, Hardin and many of his fellow rheumatologists regularly tell patients that a diet that “leans more toward fatty fish” may help alleviate their pain. And even if it doesn’t end up reducing arthritis pain, eating fish—particularly fatty types, such as salmon—twice a week may help your heart.
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