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Fish Oil as an alternate pain relief cure for arthritis? Myth or fact?

Fish Oil A Cure for Arthritis Pain?
Arthritis is a painful condition that strikes hundreds and thousands of mostly older folks a ywar.

Although there are literally hundreds of different types of arthritis, most all share the hallmark symptoms of this often chronic and painful disease: morning stiffness, swelling, localized or widespread pain, throbbing, and mild or severe loss of mobility. Just as there are hundreds of different forms of this condition, so are there a myriad of treatment options.

The conventional treatment method is usually a cocktail of drugs and medications but in recent years, alternative treatment methods such as Yoga, Accunpuncture, Reflexology are beginning to replace or at least supplement the standard drug therapy.

The truth is that every case is different, and what works for one person will not for another. As natural medicine continues to move more into the mainstream, more alternative treatment options are becoming an acceptable part of arthritis treatment.

One of the latest trends that nutritionists and others are buzzing about is fish oil. Fish oil is high in two types of omega-3 fatty acids. These include eicosapentaenoic acid (or EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (or DHA). Both of these omega-3 fatty acids have been well documented for their ability to reduce inflammation. With strong anti-inflammation properties, it makes sense that fish oils have been touted as the next big thing in arthritis care. But do these oils really work? Are they a cure for that persistent arthritis pain?

As with most alternative medicine therapies, there is not yet sufficient research to conclude whether fish oil is truly efficacious in relieving the symptoms associated with arthritis. However, early research is encouraging. Recent clinical trials and laboratory studies have concluded that fish oil, because of its omega-3 structure, may be helpful in reducing the feelings of stiff morning muscles and tender joints that so many arthritis sufferers experience.

Researchers have not yet concluded the appropriate dosage for maximum effectiveness, nor how long treatment should last.

However, researchers have also discovered possible side effects of fish oil supplementation. In some cases, fish oil has been shown to increase the risk of the blood's ability to clot. For some people, consuming fish oil may affect the time it takes for their blood to clot. This can be an important issue in cases where the patient is taking medications that affect their blood.

Fish oil supplementation has also been shown to interact with blood pressure medications. Apparently, taking fish oil supplements while taking high blood pressure medications may cause their blood pressure to lower significantly.

Another possible risk of supplementing with fish oil is that fish can often contain significant levels of contaminants.

Fish are often found to be unsafe because of their mercury level. Consuming fish oils could pose a risk, particularly to young children, and women who are pregnant or nursing. Fishes with the highest levels of mercury include swordfish, tuna, king mackerel, tilefish, and shark. To avoid these risks, make sure to find a low-mercury fish.

Finding this information can often be difficult, and may involve calling the manufacturer to ask about mercury levels.

The good news: beside these risks, consuming fish oils generally causes very few side effects. The side effects that do exist are relatively minor, and may consist of stomach disturbances and gas.