Glucosamine and omega-3s eased pain in osteoarthritis (OA), silymarin cut inflammation in OA better than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and doctors discover how omega-3s lower inflammation, in three new studies.
In an OA study, 177 people with moderate to severe OA of the hip or knee took 1,500 mg of glucosamine per day with or without 444 mg of fish oil containing 200 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. After six months, 44 percent of the glucosamine/omega-3 group and 32 percent of the glucosamine-only group reported 80 percent less pain. More than nine in 10 overall reported at least 20 percent less pain. In addition, the glucosamine/omega-3 group reported much less morning stiffness and pain in the hips and knees compared to the glucosamine-only group. Doctors noted both supplements were very safe during the long-term treatment period of 26 weeks.
In a knee OA study, doctors compared the anti-inflammatory herb silymarin—from the flowering milk thistle plant—to two NSAIDS in 220 people with painful knee OA. Participants took 300 mg of silymarin per day alone or with 15 mg of Meloxicam or 20 mg of Piroxicam, or took Meloxicam or Piroxicam alone. After eight weeks, silymarin reduced signs of the inflammation that leads to bone-joint deterioration better than any of the other treatments, without side effects.
In an omega-3 study published in the journal Nature, doctors wanted to find out why omega-3 fish oil reduces inflammation. Researchers discovered that the body converts an omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), into a chemical called ResolvinD2. Doctors now know the exact chemical structure of ResolvinD2 and hope that their new understanding will lead to more effective treatments for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.