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How Omega-3 Fatty Acids Help Beat Arthritis Pain

Researchers have long known that a diet high in inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce arthritis pain. Now research from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts may reveal why.

A study led by Charles Serhan, Director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury at Harvard Medical School, Boston, examined the actions of omega-3s in the body. Serhan’s team found that the body converts omega-3 fatty acids into compounds that are 10,000 times more potent than the original fatty acids. Those compounds include resolvins, which help to stem the body's inflammatory response -- a key contributor to arthritis pain.

Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include flaxseed, chia seed, fish (especially cold water fish such as salmon, caviar, and the lowly sardine), canola oil, and walnuts.

Learn more about osteoarthritis symptoms, prevention, treatment, and management in our comprehensive library article: Osteoarthritis.