Volume 1: Issue #4
A Simple Tip to Supercharge
Your Omega 3 Supplement
The ideal way to consume fish oil is, well, to eat fish. But few of us eat enough, or are ever likely to, so supplements come into play. Whichever option you choose, you want to make sure you get enough.
The optimal amount of omega-3s you should be taking is still a matter of speculation. The Arthritis Foundation recommends eating two three-ounce servings of fish a week and taking 2.6 grams twice a day of fish oil that is 30 percent EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), the two main omega-3s in fish oil.1
However, a study of 75 people with osteoarthritis in their knees found that taking 1,000 mg of fish oil a day containing 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA improved their “knee performance.”2
But now comes a neat trick for getting a bigger bang out of your omega 3 intake…
A trick you can try to boost the amount of circulating omega-3 fats in your body is to drink a little bit of wine each day. A study of about 1,600 people in England, Belgium and Italy found that folks who down an alcoholic beverage every day maintain more omega-3 in their blood.3
“People drinking moderate amounts of alcohol, one drink a day for women and two for men, had higher concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in plasma and red blood cells independently of their fish intake,” says researcher Romina di Giuseppe, who is with the Research Laboratories at Catholic University of Campobasso in Italy.
The researchers’ analysis suggest that although any alcoholic beverage can help the body circulate omega-3s, the antioxidant polyphenols in red wine may be most efficient at helping the body put the omega-3s to use.
Now, many gourmands insist that the best wine to drink with a fish dinner should be white. But if you want to ease the arthritis in your joints, a few sips of red looks like a better choice.
And I feel obliged to say that two drinks every day sounds like a lot to me, although others differ. Call me puritanical, but I recommend taking resveratrol, the ingredient in wine that is believed to account for its positive impact on health – rather than drink so frequently.
Omega-3’s are the “wonder drug” for arthritis
With or without resveratrol, I think everyone should supplement with omega-3 fatty acids, but if you’ve got arthritis, it’s urgent. When osteoarthritis in your joints acts up, it changes your life – and not in a good way.
Joint pain flairs after the cartilage in your joints breaks down. If you allow unchecked inflammation to destroy the protective cushioning provided by cartilage, the ends of your bones scrape together, and then you’re really in trouble. The pain, most often in the hips, knees and hands, will get worse year by year.
And actually, the inflammation starts long before actual cartilage damage can even be detected in an x-ray image. The sooner you start using anti-inflammatory foods and supplements, the better.
Scientists believe osteoarthritis starts with an excess of matrix-degrading enzymes, substances made by cartilage cells which tear apart the supporting tissue (the so-called extracelluar matrix) that holds the cartilage together. That leads to ever-worsening cycles of joint inflammation.
These pain-causing enzymes can take years to destroy cartilage. You don’t want to wait until the damage is done.
About ten percent of men and more than 18 percent of women over the age of 60 suffer from osteoarthritis – more than 27 million Americans have the disease. It’s the leading cause of pain in older people. Fish oil to the rescue!
Your joints need an oil change
A study at the University of Bristol in England shows that the omega-3 fats in fish oil can “substantially and significantly” calm the joint pains linked to osteoarthritis.4The lab tests by the Bristol researchers demonstrate that omega-3s can slow down the progression of this arthritic condition by 50 percent.
According to researcher John Tarlton, Ph.D., the lab work shows that omega-3s limit the disintegration of collagen (structural proteins) in cartilage and preserve the shock-absorption tissue that keeps joints operating smoothly.
“Furthermore,” he says, “there was strong evidence that omega-3 influences the biochemistry of the disease, and therefore not only helps prevent disease, but also slows its progression, potentially controlling established osteoarthritis.”
Dr. Tarlton and his fellow scientists believe that a big reason osteoarthritis runs rampant in the U.S. and Europe is the fact that we eat too many omega-6 fats – the kind found in vegetable oils – and two few omega-3s, which are found in fish oil and to some degree in flax oil.
“Most diets in the developed world are lacking in omega-3, with modern diets having up to 30 times too much omega-6 and too little omega-3,” says Dr. Tarlton. “Taking omega-3 will help redress this imbalance and may positively contribute to a range of other health problems such as heart disease and colitis.”
To that I say, “Amen, brother!”