Omega-3 fatty acids, as found in fish oils, could prevent or slow the progression of osteoarthritis, according to new research. Fish oils are also good for the brain, the heart, to boost the immune system and help to fight depression.
According to the University of Bristol study, omega-3-rich diets fed to guinea pigs, which naturally develop osteoarthritis, reduced the disease by 50%.
Classic early signs of the condition, such as the degradation of collagen in cartilage and the loss of molecules that give it shock-absorbing properties, were both reduced with omega-3.
Osteoarthritis affects around eight million people in the UK, and there is currently no cure.
Lead researcher Dr John Tarlton, from the Matrix Biology Research group at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences, said human studies were now essential.
"The only way of being certain that the effects of omega-3 are as applicable to humans as demonstrated in guinea pigs is to apply omega-3 to humans," he said.
"However, osteoarthritis in guinea pigs is perhaps the most appropriate model for spontaneous, naturally occurring osteoarthritis, and all of the evidence supports the use of omega-3 in human disease."
Many diets are low in omega-3 and omega-6, so consider a supplement to boost your intake.