Researchers at State Hospital Muerzzuschlag, in Austria looked for changes in swollen and tender joints.
First, the details.
- 23 patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis were assigned to a treatment group.
- Either 0.2 grams of fish oil emulsion/kg (active) or 0.9% saline (placebo) was injected for 14 consecutive days.
- Then, 20 weeks of 0.05 grams of fish oil/kg (active) or paraffin wax (placebo) was taken by mouth as capsules.
- A decrease in swollen and tender joint counts was the primary efficacy measure.
- Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.
And, the results.
- At the start of treatment, the number of swollen and tender joints was not significantly different between treatment groups.
- Swollen joint count was significantly lower in the omega-3 group vs placebo after 1 and 2 weeks of injections.
- Tender joint count tended to be lower in the omega-3 group, although the difference between groups didn’t achieve significance.
- Both swollen and tender joint counts were significantly lower in
the omega-3 FA group vs placebo during and at the end of oral treatment.
The bottom line?
It’s a small study with encouraging results, which should be repeated in a larger population.
Others have reported that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids supplements each day reduced the need of indomethacin (Indocin) therapy.