Omega-3 oils ease arthritis, slow cancer

Essential fatty acids are critical to good health. From brain function and depression to heart health and skin care, the body truly benefits from sufficient fatty acids in the diet. Recent research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids are also beneficial in the management and treatment of both arthritis and cancer.

At Cardiff University in the UK, researchers found that omega-3 fatty acids could slow and reduce inflammation caused by degenerative joint disease. They discovered omega-3 fatty acids influenced the mechanism of cartilage metabolism. Cartilage samples treated with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids underwent a process meant to mimic the degradation that occurs with arthritis. The researchers found that supplementation with omega-3, but not omega-6, decreased both the damage and inflammation seen in arthritis.

Omega-3 fatty acids have also been studied for benefits in cancer therapy. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Centre at Louisiana State University reviewed numerous animal studies and concluded that the consumption of omega-3 fatty acids did in fact help slow the growth of cancer cells as well as increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy. It also reduced the side effects from both. Researchers theorized that these benefits were due to several actions of omega-3, including the ability to decrease cancer cell growth and even bring about cancer cell death.

They concluded that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acid was an excellent addition to cancer therapy.

Sources: J Nutr 2002 Nov;132(11 Suppl);3508S-3512S; Proc Nutr Soc 2002 Aug;61(3):381-9