Researchers at Londrina State University in Parana, Brazil, report that adding olive oil to a fish oil supplement increases the beneficial effects for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
In the study, 43 patients (average age 49) with rheumatoid arthritis were assigned to one of three groups. In addition to their usual medication, the first group received a placebo (soy oil), the second group received 3 grams per day of fish oil with omega-3, and the third group received the fish oil plus 9.6 mL of olive oil. Disease activity was measured by clinical and laboratory indicators at the beginning of the study and after 12 and 24 weeks. The patients’ satisfaction in activities of daily living was also measured.
The researchers found that there was a statistically significant improvement in both fish oil groups compared to the placebo group with respect to a variety of symptoms, including joint pain intensity, right and left handgrip strength, duration of morning stiffness, onset of fatigue, the ability to bend down, and getting in and out of a car. In addition, those taking the additional olive oil had improvements over the other two groups with respect to duration of morning stiffness after 12 weeks, overall self-assessments after 12 and 24 weeks, and the ability to turn faucets on and off after 24 weeks.
The researchers conclude that taking fish oil relieved several clinical parameters used in the present study. “However, patients showed a more precocious and accentuated improvement when fish oil supplements were used in combination with olive oil,” they said.
Nutrition, Feb 2005