Eating Fish May Be Tied to Lower Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk: Study
Posted by Neill Abayon
Women who regularly get some fish in their diet may have a relatively lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a large new study suggests.
Swedish researchers found that of the 32,000-plus women they followed for nearly eight years, those who ate fish at least once a week were 29 percent less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis than other women were.
Fatty fish -- such as salmon, mackerel and herring -- seemed to be key, the researchers report in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases. Those fish contain an inflammation-fighting fat called omega-3, and women who had a higher omega-3 intake showed half the rheumatoid arthritis risk.
The findings do not prove that fish consumption wards off the painful joint disease, experts said. But there is a biological basis to believe that fish could offer some protection: Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by a misguided immune system attack on the joints, which leads to chronic and widespread inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids help ease inflammation.
"This fits a biological model that's very plausible," said Dr. Daniel Solomon, a rheumatologist and epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Solomon, who was not involved in the study, said the findings are also in line with past research linking higher omega-3 intake with lower disease activity in people who already have rheumatoid arthritis.