Can Fish Oil Cure Acne?

Fish oil which is a great source of the Omega 3 acids is known to be a good remedy for acne. Oil from fish has good quantity of EPA which reduces the production of androgen in skin. This androgen creates sebum in the hair follicle and hence creates acne. The omega 3 acne advantages will surely help get better skin.

A regular intake of the fish extracted oil can cause wonders on your skin and hence reduce the acne drastically. Dry skin and poor skin texture can also be reduced by the intake of this oil. Along with oil from fish, flax seed oil acne benefits are also vast.

The oil which is extracted from fish has a huge amount of vitamin E and the vitamin E acne benefits are long lasting and very noticeable. The sebum which is produced inside the hair follicle is reduced when you consume this oil.

Fish oil can be consumed in liquid form or in the form of capsules. There are many companies which produce capsules which contain vitamin E from the oil. You can get oil from fish for external application as well. Applying it on the skin will bring a good texture and shine to your skin making it glow and look healthy.

If you need a cure for sunburn, then these capsules from the oil are the best remedy. It also cures diseases like eczema, psoriasis and rashes. Inflammation to the skin can also be cured with the application or consumption of oil from fish.

Acne leaves many scars after they get cured. These scars can be reduced with the application of oil from fish. Fish oil acne scars which can leave a permanent mark on the skin can be reduced with the regular application of the medicated oil from fish.

Getting capsules or a bottle of oil is very easy. You could visit your nearest chemist or druggist shop or a supermarket which sells all types of oil. Oil for consumption and application are different and should not be mixed with each other.

Fish Oil’s Role in Reducing Symptoms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) And Crohn’s Disease

With each passing medical and scientific study the benefits of fish oil and fish oil supplements, are finding their way into the spotlight. Many studies have shown a correlation between reducing the possibility of heart failure, heart attack and different vascular diseases, but it has only been recently that a connection between Omega-3 fatty acids and helpful benefits for patients suffering from Irritable Bowl Diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis and Chrohn’s disease.

Many of these studies are double-blind studies that are further validated with cultural studies of Inuit and Eskimo populations that have a diet high in fish that contains Omega-3 fatty acids and a very low occurrence of ulcerative colitis and Chrohn’s disease. As the evidence mounts, further studies will be needed to pinpoint with any accuracy how much the dietary intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help in patients suffering from these gastrointestinal diseases, but on the surface the smaller studies that have been done are very promising.

Ulcerative Colitis and Chrohn’s Disease Overview

Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are two types of inflammatory bowel diseases. These diseases are believed to be caused by several factors. First, genetic and non-genetic causes are believed to be the culprit in many cases. The other possible cause is environmental factors such as infections that cause an immune reaction in the gastrointestinal area. The body then generates a large amount of white blood cells in the intestinal lining. These white blood cells release chemicals in the process of fighting the infection that inflame the intestinal tissue. It should be noted, though, that the exact causes of IBDs, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, are currently unknown.

In general, an ulcerative colitis attack or Crohn’s disease attack will consist of severe intestinal inflammation, which can cause bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, anemia, bleeding from the ulcers, rupture of the bowel, obstructions and strictures, fistulae, toxic megacolon and malignant cancer. In the last instance, the risk of colon cancer in patients that have had ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease rises significantly. Generally, after an attack, the disease will go into a remission stage that can last weeks or even years. If you are suffering from these symptoms you should see your physician immediately for a proper diagnosis.

Until recently, the treatment for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease was, first and foremost, a healthy diet. If symptoms require it, physicians will ask their patients to limit their intake of dairy and fiber. While it is true that diet has relatively little to no influence on the actual inflammation process within ulcerative colitis, it could have influence on the different symptoms associated with it. On the other hand, diet does have an impact on the inflammatory activity in Crohn’s disease and one of the main ways of treating these symptoms is a diet that consists of predigested food. It should also be noted that in both diseases, stress has been shown to be a factor in causing flare-ups. Because of this, physicians will also emphasize the importance of stress management.

Secondarily, medical treatment for these two diseases involves suppression of the high level of inflammatory response mechanisms of the immune system within the intestinal tract. By suppressing this response, the intestinal tissue can heal and the symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea can be relieved. After the symptoms have been controlled, further medicinal treatment helps to decrease flare-ups and lengthen or maintain remission periods.

Conventional methods of medicating these two diseases involve a stepped approach. Initially, the least harmful of medications are given in as low a dosage as possible and are taken for a short time period. If these medications provide little or no relief, the dosages are either increased or the medications are changed.

The lowest levels of medications, or Step I, are aminosalicylates and antibiotics. Corticosteroids make up the set of Step II drugs. Step III drugs involve the use of immune modifying medications or a drug called Infliximab for patients suffering from Crohn’s disease. These medications are not used, however, during acute flare-ups due to the length of time that a flare-up can last. Only after Step III medications fail completely are Step IV drugs introduced because at this time, they are experimental.

A final alternative in treating ulcerative colitis is surgery. Because ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, surgery can completely cure it. Crohn’s disease, unfortunately, is not restricted to the colon and can exist anywhere in the digestive tract. Because of this, surgery will often complicate matters more.

Limitations of Medical Treatment

Nearly one-quarter of all patients diagnosed with some form of IBD, either Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, will not respond to medical treatment. In about three-quarters of cases of Crohn’s disease, surgery (even though it is not curative) will be required. Regardless of current medical treatment, a person suffering from ulcerative colitis will have a 50% chance of having remission end within a two-year period after the last flare-up. Even if the initial diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is limited to the rectum there is a 50% probability of the disease becoming more extensive over a twenty-five year period. If a patient has ulcerative colitis that involves the entire colon, that patient stands a 60% chance of requiring a colectomy and most patients will require surgical intervention within the first year after diagnosis of the disease.

It’s obvious that Intestinal Bowel Disease can be debilitating. Continued treatments with progressively harsher medications and surgeries that may help in some cases but not others become the norm for these patients. Further, the complications like strictures and fistulas associated with IBDs, can ultimately lead to colon cancer. Many times, these complications create a feeling of hopelessness among those who suffer from ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

There is hope, though. New studies are presenting strong evidence for the use of Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil and fish oil supplements) in the prevention and treatment of IBDs. These studies are shedding new light on the multi-faceted health benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids and ultimately may present new methods for the treatment of these painful diseases.

The Case for Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Traditionally, the Inuit populations of Alaska have existed on diets high in fatty fish, specifically, types of fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Past studies of these cultures have shown that the large majority of these groups do not suffer from heart problems, heart disease or other forms of vascular disease. Less known, however, was the fact that the majority of people within these cultures also do not suffer from any form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This has led some scientists to postulate that there is a strong connection between the dietary intake of fish oil or fish oil supplements and the prevention of IBDs.

Take, for instance, one example of a symptom of both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: inflammation. Fish oils high in Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce its occurrence in patients suffering from IBDs. The reason for this is that when Omega-3 fatty acids are introduced into the body it suppresses the production of leukotriene B4. Omega-3s have also been shown to inhibit interleukin 1Beta. Both leukotriene B4 and interleukin 1Beta are major players in the inflammation of mucosa lining the gastrointestinal tracts.

With regular dietary intake of fish oil supplements high in DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), inflammation can be reduced by up to 50% in the intestinal tissues of patients who suffer from ulcerative colitis. Fish oils that have anti-inflammatory properties are only effective in reducing inflammation, but not preventing it. Results in patients with Crohn’s disease haven’t been quite as promising, but this area of research is still in its infancy.

Recent studies show tremendous promise in fish oil’s effectiveness in preventing and reducing the effects of IBDs. These studies show that there is an increase in the manufacture of less powerful prostaglandins at the sacrifice of the more potent ones. Patients with active ulcerative colitis who were given fish oil supplements have also shown significant improvement versus patients who were given placebos. Further study with larger control groups is needed, though, in order for more accurate data to be gathered.

As further evidence of the link between Omega-3s and relief from the symptoms and inflammation of IBDs, a 12-week study involving patients who knew they were taking fish oil supplements showed a significant decline in the disease. This study was further bolstered by the results from samples of the intestinal mucosa that were found to have increased amounts of eicosapentaenoic acid. These results increase when the supplement given to the patients is encased with an enteric coating, which allows the fish oil to be released lower into the intestinal tract. This further alleviates side effects such as fishy breath, burping and flatulence related to taking fish oil supplements. Because of the fewer side effects associated with these supplements, treatment over the long-term is more tolerable.

A Worldwide Phenomenon

With more notice being taken of the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on the health of people who take them on a consistent basis, the worldwide scientific community has opened up more to the idea of this supplement being used for effective treatment of IBDs. For instance, in Italy, a study was conducted using enteric-coated fish oil supplements and a notable reduction in the rate of relapse in Crohn’s disease remission was noted. The patients involved in this study showed evidence of inflammation at the beginning of the study and were suffering from the symptoms related to Crohn’s. In this study, patients suffering from the disease received either three fish oil capsules three times per day or a placebo three times per day. Those patients receiving fish oil supplements showed a significant reduction in the inflammation.

Among 39 patients in the placebo group, almost 70% of the patients who were in remission, relapsed. Out of the 39 patients supplementing their diet with fish oil capsules, only 28% relapsed. Further, after a year, nearly 60% of the 39 patients being given fish oil supplements were still in remission while only 25% of the patients given the placebo were in remission.

Given the small size of the study group it is only possible to speculate on the efficacy of treatment for Crohn’s disease patients, however, the results of this study are promising. If scientists are given the opportunity to produce a study with a much larger group of patients, better and more accurate data could be gathered which could lead to even more positive results. More research would also allow scientists and doctors to understand the ways in which the EPA works to help increase time of remission.

There is strong speculation that patients suffering from IBDs lack a particular enzyme found in Omega-3 pathways and that when this enzyme is present, remission and even prevention of IBDs is possible. In a sense, adding an Omega-3 supplement to the diet of a patient suffering from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis appears to be a type of enzyme replacement therapy.

In Japan, medical researchers at Shiga University of Medical Science conducted a study in which the diet of Crohn’s disease patients was altered to include a meal of rice, cooked fish and soup. Prior to the establishment of this diet, the occurrence of relapse within one year was 90%. After implementation of the diet the occurrence of relapse dropped to 40% within one year. Results like this are encouraging other countries to do similar studies.

In the United States, research conducted at Boston University Medical Center shows that patients with chronic IBD have unusual fatty acid profiles that were generally lower than control subjects who did not suffer from any type of chronic intestinal disorder. Because of this lack of fatty acids, it is believed that these patients are more prone to these problems. The study also suggests that the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids via a diet that adds fish oil or fish oil supplements can help reduce and correct this shortage.

Another study in San Francisco that involved patients with ulcerative colitis showed that there is an increase in leukotriene B4 in the colonic lining. The hypothesis in this study is that an increase in fish oil supplements in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis could inhibit the synthesis of the leukotrienes. If this is possible, fish oil supplements would be responsible for a reduction or elimination of the symptoms associated with inflammation of the bowels in this disease.

The final results of the study show that the hypothesis was accurate. Patients in the study were randomized and placed into two different groups. The study group received regular daily doses of fish oil containing 2.7 grams of eicosapentaenoic acid and 1.8 grams of docosahexaenoic acid. The second set of patients were placed into a control group and given placebo capsules filled with olive oil. Over a three-month period, patients receiving the fish oil supplements showed marked improvement in the severity of the symptoms of the disease. In fact, 72% of the study group taking the supplements was able to reduce or completely terminate their anti-inflammation and steroid medication schedules. The final outcome of the study was that fish oil supplements were integral to the improvement of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis.

A similar study done at Mount Sinai School of Medicine shows that the regular use of fish oil supplements in patients suffering from ulcerative colitis diminishes the severity of the disease. Fully 70% of the patients involved in the study showed moderate to significant improvement and 80% of the patients in the study were able to reduce their intake of prednisone, an anti-inflammatory used to help alleviate symptoms of the disease, by up to 66%.

Taking the Next Steps

Studies are showing positive results and it’s obvious that the Omega-3 fatty acids inherent to fish oil supplements are beneficial to our intestinal health. The obvious thing to do is find out what types of fish oil supplements are the best. Personal research will aid you in finding the correct supplements and additionally, if you suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you should consult with your physician about the benefits of adding a fish oil supplement to your diet and what dosage you should take. There is, however, some basic information about fish oil supplements that you need to know.

First of all, not all fish oil supplements are created equal. Cod liver oil is, by far, the most inexpensive form of fish oil that contains Omega-3 fatty acids. However, it does not contain the highest amounts and in most cases it cannot be taken in high doses because of impurities such as mercury that are left in it. It also has an extremely powerful taste that most have trouble tolerating.

A much better choice for supplementing your diet with fish oil is a health food grade supplement. These supplements have been purified using a process called molecular distillation. This process eliminates nearly all of the impurities and is very safe when taken in the doses necessary to help alleviate the symptoms associated with IBDs.

The purest form of fish oil supplements is pharmaceutical grade. These supplements have also been processed using molecular distillation, however, at a much higher level. The process used in filtering out the impurities gets rid of all of them down to the particulate level. These supplements, of course, are also the most expensive, but will have the greatest impact on your ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

The benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids are proving to be phenomenal and it is anyone’s guess as to the limits of what these supplements can do for our health. With few side effects that are relatively minor, fish oil supplements are a good choice to help you improve your overall health. The fact that they can be used to inhibit the relapse of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is even more exciting. Omega-3 fatty acids are carving out a healthy niche in the diets of individuals worldwide and everyone is all the better for it.

Fish Oil Supplements Can Relieve Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

For those suffering from the painful and often debilitating effects of rheumatoid arthritis, the only possibility of relief – until recently – involved either painful surgery or expensive medications that also bring with them their own complications.

Now, however, an increasing amount of research into alternative therapies has shown promising results from fish oil and fish oil supplements. The omega-3 fatty acids found in large amounts in fish oil seems to act as an anti-inflammatory agent with no serious side effects and only the possibility of some minor adverse reactions. Omega-3 is found naturally in fish oil or can be ingested through supplements, which is even safer than eating fish known to have high concentrations of omega-3 because those fish also run the risk of containing toxic chemicals such as mercury and PCB’s.

Fish oil has been shown to benefit those with cardiac problems, improve cholesterol levels and increase brain function. For those with rheumatoid arthritis, studies have shown increased amounts of omega-3, which has the highest concentrations in fish oil, improves their condition, decreases the amount of time they have stiffness in the morning and can also decrease the amount of non-steroid anti-inflammation drugs they have to take to combat the illness.

These non-steroid anti-inflammation drugs come with plenty of potential side effects, most commonly nausea, decreased appetite, vomiting, rash, dizziness and constipation. More serious side effects include fluid retention, which can lead to edema. The most serious side effects range from kidney and liver failure, to ulcers and prolonged bleeding after surgery.

Steroid medications can be prescribed for the most seriously affected patients, but those also have serious side effects, such as bone loss, suppress the body’s immune system and increase blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, fish oil supplements have shown to have no side effects and only minor adverse reactions. They are also much cheaper than the non-inflammatory medications and more readily available.

While eating fish could be an important part of a good diet, fish oil supplements may be better and safer due to the fact that in order to reap the benefits of omega-3, a large amount of fish would need to be eaten on a regular basis and the fish with the highest concentrations also may contain toxic chemicals. Meanwhile, taking fish oil supplements ensures the dosage is regulated properly and worries about mercury or other toxic chemicals are non-existent since they are removed in pharmaceutical grade supplements.

To understand the potential benefits of fish oil and fish oil supplements, it is important to first understand rheumatoid arthritis, what causes it and thus how fish oil can counteract it.

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, chronic type of arthritis that impacts about 1.3 million people in the U.S., and occurs about three times more often in women than in men.

While the exact cause of the disease remains unknown, contributing factors to developing it are believed to include genetics, environment and hormones.

Infectious agents, such as viruses, bacteria and fungi have been suspected as causes, but this has not been proven. It is possible an outside source, such as the environment, may trigger the immune system of the body to mistakenly initiate the reaction. Usually, it is believed a combination of problems result in contracting rheumatoid arthritis. There are juvenile cases of rheumatoid arthritis, but the onset usually occurs in middle age.

It is mainly characterized by inflammation of the lining of the joints. It affects people differently, with some developing rather mild cases that may only last a few months or a couple of years, and others advancing to stages where joint damage occurs along with chronic pain, disability and deformities. It can also affect organs in the body. Often, the disease will progress through three stages.

In the first stage, the joint lining swells, causing warmth, pain, stiffness, redness and swelling around the joint. Next is a rapid division of cells and growth of cells which cause the lining to thicken. In the third stage, the inflamed cells release enzymes that can break down the bone and cartilage in the affected area.

Most theories on the development of the disease have centered on it being an autoimmune response by the body, meaning the body basically attacks itself, though some studies in recent years indicate an outside agent, such as a viral protein, may cause the reaction. Either way, the long-time prognosis for rheumatoid arthritis is not a particularly good one.

The medical and economic costs of all types of arthritis, including rheumatoid, add up to billions of dollars every year when including medications, surgeries and wages lost. Daily joint pain associated with the disease can also lead many to experience feelings of depression, anxiety and helplessness.

Currently, there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but early diagnosis can help someone continue to live a productive life. Studies show early, aggressive treatment can limit joint damage, which reduces loss of movement, increases the ability to continue to work, lowers medical costs and may be able to delay the need for surgery.

In 80 percent of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an anti-body called “rheumatoid factor” can be found. However, this anti-body can also be found in other conditions, so its presence, as well as abnormal readings on tests, does not point exclusively to rheumatoid arthritis.

In early stages of the disease, X-rays may not show any joint damage, or show only minor swelling. In the second stage, evidence of bone thinning with or without slight bone damage may be seen on an X-ray. Slight cartilage damage may be seen, joint mobility may be decreased but no joint deformities are present, surrounding muscle may be atrophied and soft tissue around the joint may show signs of abnormality.

Typically in the third stage, an X-ray will show signs of bone thinning and damage to bone and cartilage around the joint. Also likely present will be some joint deformity without permanent stiffness of the joint, extensive muscle atrophy and abnormalities in the tissue surrounding the joint.

Stage four rheumatoid arthritis characteristics include joint deformity with permanent fixation of the joint, extensive muscle atrophy and abnormalities in the soft tissue around the joint. X-rays will show evidence of cartilage and bone damage, as well as osteoporosis.

Those with class I rheumatoid arthritis are able to complete normal activities of their day, while those in class II will be able to care for themselves and perform most work activities, though their activities in such areas as sports and household chores will be limited. Those in class III will still be able to care for themselves, but their activities in and out of work will be limited. Class IV patients will be limited in their abilities to care for themselves, work and engage in other activities.

Research into benefits of fish oil

In the last decade or so, several studies have been conducted to determine the possible benefits on rheumatoid arthritis patients of increasing omega-3 fatty acids into one’s diet, usually through increased consumption of oily fishes like salmon, mackerel and herring. While we’ve all been conditioned in the last several years to cut out fat in our diet, omega-3 fatty acids have beneficial effects on the body.

In fact, it was reported in August of this year in the “Evening Courier” of Halifax that Greenland Inuits have low incidences of heart disease despite having a diet high in fat. However, much of their high-fat diet comes from marine mammals, which are high in omega-3s. Scientists who study diet and diseases have found that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are nearly non-existent among Eskimo populations.

While Eskimo and Inuit diets consist largely of fat from marine animals, many Western diets contain fat from vegetable oil coming from fast food and store bought baked goods.

Fish oil has also been found to be the best source of two particular fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been found to reduce inflammation, reduce the clotting tendency of blood, improve brain function, improve heart health and inhibit abnormal cell growth, which could help reduce cancer risks.

Fish oil’s effect as an anti-inflammatory agent is of particular interest to rheumatoid arthritis patients, since the disease results from the inflammation of the lining of the joints.

A 1993 study gave rheumatoid arthritis patients 2.8 grams of fish oil daily compared to a placebo given to others. After three months, those receiving the fish oil supplementation showed decreased use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) compared to those given the placebo, and after 12 months that reduction peaked.

Another study in 1995 showed 130 milligrams of fish oil supplements per kilogram of the person’s weight per day could decrease the number of tender joints, the duration of morning stiffness and overall pain experienced by rheumatoid arthritis patients.

It has also been shown that the amount of omega-3 fatty acids added can be lowered if combined with a decreased amount of omega-6 fats, which is found in many vegetable oils and actually promotes inflammation. Some research suggests increased levels of omega-6 can heighten the possibility of some diseases and depression. Many Western diets have ratios of omega-6 compared to omega-3 of 10 to 1, though some can be as high as 30 to 1. The ration should be 1 to 1.

A 2000 study showed that lower doses of omega-3 supplements could lessen inflammation from arthritis if paired with a reduction in the amount of omega-6s ingested. The amount of omega-3 found to still be effective was lowered to 2.3 grams if small amounts of omega-6 were included in the patient’s diet.

Use of both steroid and non-steroid medication to reduce symptoms in patients with severe arthritis was found in 2003 to be lowered if omega-3s were added to the diet and omega-6s reduced. Again, using less of the medications means less risk of their side effects.

In Leuven, Belgium, patients were divided into three groups: one group received six tablets of olive oil a day as the placebo group; the second received three tablets of olive oil and three tablets of fish oil per day; and the last group received six tablets of fish oil each day.

After three months, the placebo group showed very little improvement (about 10 percent showed some signs of being better), while 33 percent in the group receiving split treatment showed improvement. However, 53 percent of patients receiving fish oil alone showed significant signs of improvement and 47 percent of this group was able to reduce its use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. In the placebo group, only 15 percent lowered their use of the non-steroid anti-inflammatories and 29 percent were able to do so in the split group.

The Belgium scientists concluded long-time use of fish oils can improve the effects of rheumatoid arthritis significantly and can also decrease the use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

A similar study at the University of Newcastle in Australia seems to back this conclusion. In that study, 50 patients who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis were studied for 15 weeks. All the patients had a diet in which they consumed less than 10 grams per day of omega-6 fatty acids. Half the patients were given a placebo consisting of a 50-50 mixture of corn and olive oil, while the other group was given fish oil capsules providing a daily intake of about 2.8 grams for an average sized person.

All the subjects continued their regular diets and medications. Tests were taken initially and then at 4, 8 and 15 weeks. After the four-week and eight-week periods, no significant changes occurred in either group. However, at the 15-week period, significant changes were found in the group receiving fish oil, while no improvement was seen in the group not receiving fish oil. In addition, the group receiving fish oil also reported vast improvements in the duration of morning stiffness and physicians reported an overall improvement in the condition of the disease.

The October 2006 edition of the Journal of Rheumatology reported on a study which found 75 percent of patients using fish oil were able to reduce the amount of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs they took after a three-year period. Remission of the disease also occurred in 72 percent of patients taking the fish oil.

Fish oil supplements

It appears there is a benefit to rheumatoid arthritis patients of increasing their intake of omega-3 fatty acids through fish oils, especially if omega-6 fatty acids absorbed through vegetable oils can be reduced.

Of course, a healthy diet is important for anyone, not just those afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, and eating fish could be a part of that healthy diet. However, to achieve the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids at the levels seen in some of the studies above, you’d have to eat a good amount of fish on a regular basis.

Remember, those Eskimos and Inuits who rarely experience heart disease or cancer in their populations eat mainly marine mammals as part of their diet. Some people just don’t care for the taste of fish as much as Eskimos do.

The highest concentrations of omega-3s can be found in mackerel, salmon, tuna, bluefish, sturgeon, anchovy, herring, trout, sardines and mullet. However, since these types of fish are higher on the food chain, often eating other smaller fish (that’s why they have the increased amounts of omega-3s, because they have their own as well absorbing it from the fish they eat), they may also contain higher doses of some toxic contaminants, such as mercury, dioxin and PCBs.

Pharmaceutical Grade fish oil supplements, however, allow companies to provide the benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil while eliminating the possibility of also ingesting toxic contaminants. Also, the dose is regulated so the patient knows how much they are taking. Tablets can come in gel form and taking one to two tablets per day should provide the benefits sought, though it can also be found in liquid form.

Side effects

There have been no serious side effects reported from increased or prolonged ingestion of fish oil or fish oil supplements.

There are some mild adverse reactions that have been reported from time to time. Nausea, diarrhea and flatulence are common reactions, as well as experiencing a “fishy” burp. However, the Mayo Clinic has several recommendations to avoid this reaction, including swallowing the pill while frozen, which slows down its digestion in the stomach. Other tips include taking the pill at the beginning of a meal so the other food “traps” the fish oil in the stomach and acts as a buffer, switching brands or using an odorless tablet.

Other potential adverse reactions documented include halitosis, fishy smelling breath, skin and urine and occasional nosebleeds due to the anti-clotting agent of omega-3s. Pregnant women are advised to consult first with their physican before starting fish oil supplements as there may be complications with the Vitamin A found in fish oil. An increased level of Vitamin E intake is also recommended because the metabolism of fish oil uses large amounts of the vitamin, which is a powerful antioxidant. Some pharmaceutical grade supplements already add in Vitamin E with the fish oil to balance out this issue.

While not a side effect, it should be noted it takes time for an increase in omega-3s to achieve the goal of reducing inflammation in the joint. Most of the studies mentioned above saw no major results before at least three months.

Why you should choose fish oil supplements

Surgery options for rheumatoid arthritis patients include joint replacement, tendon reconstruction and a procedure to remove the inflamed lining. There are also medications that can relieve pain or reduce inflammation. However, these can be very expensive and may come with extensive side effects, such as chronic infections like tuberculosis as well as the others discussed previously.

It comes as no surprise then that patients are always looking for a better alternative. Pharmaceutical grade fish oil supplements may be that alternative. They are cheaper, have almost no side effects and provide most of the same benefits over a period of time. They can be purchased online or at just about any store that sells supplements.