Q. I have heard that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil may be beneficial in helping the body repair cartilage and improving arthritic joints. I wonder if this is an old wives’ tale or if it holds up under scrutiny.
A. There have been a number of studies suggesting that fish oil is helpful for joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Even when the doctor does not detect an objective difference, patients taking fish oil report less pain and morning stiffness and take fewer pain relievers (Pain, May 2007).
One reader wrote: “Fish oil is amazing. My husband is under a doctor's care for arthritis. Within one day of starting fish oil, the swelling began to go down in his fingers. He still takes his prescribed medication, but in lower doses. This relief is so much better.”