Joint Relief

The Arthritis Foundation has long maintained that diet changes have no effect on rheumatoid arthritis, despite a decade’s worth of studies showing that fatty acids found in fish oil and some plant oils ease symptoms. But the organization is finally conceding that a dietary approach to treatment can reduce the pain and inflammation associated with this crippling form of joint disease, which afflicts more than 2 million Americans. Close to a dozen studies have confirmed that omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid in fish oil; gamma-linolenic acid in borage seed and evening primrose oil) help suppress production of substances in the body—prostaglandins and leukotrienes—that produce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. If you have RA, you can get omega-3s by eating more cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout) or by taking supplements of fish oil or evening primrose oil.