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Study: Eating Fish Could Help Reduce Symptoms of Arthritis

Jun 23, 2017 11:34 AM EDT
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Eating fish could help decrease the disease activity of rheumatoid arthritis.
(Photo : Phil Walter/Getty Images)

A new study revealed that arthritis patients who consume fish two times or more per week experience significantly lesser disease activity than those who did not eat fish.

The study, published in the journal Arthritis Care and Research, suggests that eating fish could help reduce the inflammation associated with rheumatoid arthritis activity.

"Fish consumption has been noted to have many beneficial health effects," said Dr. Sara Tedeschi, associate physician in rheumatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and lead author of the study in a press release. "Our findings may give patients with rheumatoid arthritis a strong reason to increase fish consumption."

For the study, the researchers analyzed the data of 176 arthritis patients included in the Evaluation of Subclinical Cardiovascular Disease and Predictors of Events in RA (ESCAPE-RA) cohort study. The researchers used baseline food frequency questionnaire to determine how often each participant eat fish in the past year. Fishes that were included in the study were either prepared raw, steamed, broiled or baked. The researchers did not include shellfish and fish in mixed dishes or fried.

The researchers observed that the participants who reported eating fish two or more times every week have lower disease-activity scores than those who did not. The disease-activity score measures the levels of inflammation biomarkers in the blood of the patient, as well as the number of swollen and tender joints the patient has.

Interestingly, the researchers noted a graded association between the amount of fish consumed and the level of disease activity. They found that the increasing servings of fish resulted to lower levels of disease activity.

Fish is known to be a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat with anti-inflammatory properties. Previous studies already showed that taking fish oil supplement could help patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Fish oil supplements, just like real fish, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

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