Cod liver oil, long touted as a remedy for joint pain, really does work, scientists say. In a small study of 31 patients suffering from osteoarthritis, researchers at Cardiff University in Wales showed that the oil reduced enzymes linked to pain and cartilage damage caused by osteoarthritis.
The data suggests that cod liver oil has a dual mode of action, potentially slowing down the cartilage degeneration inherent in osteoarthritis and also reducing factors that cause pain and inflammation.
Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, is characterized by the breakdown of the joint's cartilage. Cartilage cushions the ends of bones and stops them rubbing against each other, which causes pain and limits movement.
The researchers found that 86% of patients given 1000 mg of extra high strength cod liver oil before undergoing joint replacement surgery had significantly reduced levels of enzymes linked to cartilage damage, compared to 26% of patients on placebo. These findings suggest is that by taking cod liver oil, people are more likely to delay the onset of osteoarthritis and less likely to require multiple joint replacements later in life, the researchers said.
A natural source of vitamin A and D, cod liver oil has been a traditional remedy for digestive problems and other ailments. These findings provide further proof that taking cod liver oil or eating lots of oily fish slows down cartilage destruction in osteoarthritis.
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