You may know that fish oil is good in the fight against heart disease, or that it helps depression, or decreases the incidence of dry eyes. However, yet another function of this super-supplement is its’ ability to increase range of motion in a joint.
Fish oil is a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), decoxahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are omega 3 fatty acids. There are however, multiple omega-3 fatty acids, each with it’s own benefits. For this reason, the generic term “omega 3” can be a little confusing.
DHA and EPA have been highly studied in regards to their ability to limit particular cardiovascular risk factors. Two of these risk factors being blood pressure and triglyceride levels. While there are other omega 3’s out there, you should target foods that have the highest proportion to get the most for your dollar. For this reason, the American Heart Association recommends fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna). Fatty fish are typically found in cold-water climates and contain high levels of DHA and EPA.
DHA and EPA are partly responsible for reducing inflammation in the body. In addition, they inhibit the release of several proteins which lead to osteoarthritis. EPA is especially beneficial to the prevention of destruction of cartilage cell metabolism. Omega 3’s are found in cartilage, and by consuming higher levels through diet, a person is able to replenish stores and maintain cartilage integrity.
A study of 293 adults indicated that those with higher intake of monounsaturated fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids realized an increased risk for bone marrow lesions. The study went on to conclude that individuals should shift from omega 6 fatty acids, to the more helpful omega 3 fatty acids.
Furthermore, it has been shown that omega 3 fatty acids decrease the symptoms of stiff joints, inflamed joints, and overall joint discomfort. Blood flow during exercise is also increased in individuals who take fish oil supplements.
It’s no surprise that joint pain is one of the leading reasons people fall into a sedentary lifestyle. Working out is hard enough as it is, without the addition of pained movements. The good news is that diet can significantly affect the symptoms you experience due to joint stiffness and pain. Fish oil should be a supplement found in everyone’s home. While many get it from eating fatty fish, the majority of Americans are not getting it enough. Not only does it have positive effects on your heart, it will help keep your joints limber and you moving for years to come.