Arthritis is a chronic disease that is characterized by joint pain, swelling, decreased joint movement, and stiffness. It is considered the leading cause of disability in the United States, affecting more than 50 million adults

Rheumatoid arthritis treatment aims to reduce symptoms in the early stages of the disease and prevent arthritis from getting worse.2 Some studies suggest that treating rheumatoid arthritis with disease-modifying anti-inflammatory drugs (DMARDs) and biologics may be more effective is viewed as NSAIDs and corticosteroids.

Fish oil supplements

Fish oil supplements can be used to treat or manage symptoms of arthritis. Studies suggest they have anti-inflammatory properties.3 Common fish oil supplements include cod liver oil and fish oil.

Cod liver oil, made from the liver of cod, has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis since the 18th century.4 It is also used to treat rickets, a bone disease that affects children caused by lack of sun exposure and vitamin D Deficiency is caused. Cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamins A and D, suggesting that it may be effective in treating or preventing rickets

Fish oil, made from marine or cold water fish bodies, can help treat or manage symptoms related to arthritis, such as joint pain. They are generally taken as a supplement to NSAIDs and other arthritis medications

Health benefits of fish oil for joint pain

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It is high in two types of omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) .6 Research has shown that both EPA and DHA can play a role in reducing inflammation in the joints.

Consumption of fish oil can lead to increased EPA and DHA levels and decreased levels of the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid in immune cell membranes. 6 Studies have shown that this blocks the formation of eicosanoids – lipid compounds produced by the omega-6 fatty acids. These eicosanoids are generally responsible for increasing the inflammatory response and play a key role in several chronic inflammatory diseases.

According to studies, fish oil has been linked to relieving the pain and other symptoms of arthritis. A 2017 study published in Nutrients looked at over twenty clinical studies examining the effects of fish oil supplements on pain.7 The study’s results suggest that fish oil may be effective at relieving pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. However, more research is needed to evaluate the effects of fish oil on pain relief, as well as improving other symptoms.

Some research studies reported the benefits of fish oil in rheumatoid arthritis patients from the review of several clinical studies. These studies found that fish oil can help reduce joint pain, as well as the length of morning stiffness and the number of swollen or tender joints

Several studies suggest that fish oil may help reduce the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs and corticosteroids. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research in 2012 suggests that fish oil taken in amounts greater than 2.7 grams / day for more than three months may reduce the use of NSAIDs in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. 10 This may be because fish like NSAIDs oil can inhibit the COX enzyme and reduce the need for pain relievers. 11

In a 2015 study published in the Global Journal of Health Science, researchers suggest that taking fish oil supplements along with DMARDs may reduce symptoms for newly diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis patients.12 The study’s results also lay suggest that fish oil is included in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis may decrease the use for pain relievers.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends taking fish oil supplements at a dosage of about 2.6 grams / day twice daily to experience the clinical benefit for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.13 studies have shown that patients taking fish oil can see an improvement of about three months calculate their symptoms. 5,11

Side effects of fish oil

Side effects of fish oil include heartburn, diarrhea, and fish odor and aftertaste, which many patients find unpleasant.11 Some methods of avoiding the aftertaste of fish include adding a citrus or peppermint flavor to fish oil and ingesting fish oil in a small glass of fruit or fruit Vegetable juice or fish oil just before meals. 5,11

Cod liver oil contains vitamin A in amounts greater than the recommended amounts in the dosage required to produce an anti-inflammatory response. According to some studies, cod liver oil at this dose may be linked to an increased risk of hip fractures and decreased bone density. 11

Talk to your doctor about your health and seek medical advice as to whether you can take fish oil with your medications or under medical conditions.

Written by Ranjani Sabarinathan, MSc


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  10. Lee YH, Bae SC, Song GG. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a meta-analysis. Arch Med Res. 2012 Jul; 43 (5): 356- 62. doi: 10.1016 / j.arcmed.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Jul 24. PMID: 22835600.
  11. Cleland, LG, James, MJ, and Proudman, SM Fish Oil: What the Prescriber Needs to Know. Arthritis Res Ther 8, 202 (2005).
  12. Rajaei E., Mowla K., Ghorbani A., Bahadoram S., Bahadoram M., Dargahi-Malamir M. The effects of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis receiving DMARD therapy: double-blind, randomized , controlled study. Glob J Health Sci. 2015; 8 (7): 18- 25. Published on November 3, 2015 doi: 10.5539 / gjhs.v8n7p18
  13. Supplement and Herbal Guide for Arthritis Symptoms. Retrieved from
  14. Image by Monfocus from Pixabay


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