Many ω-3 fatty acids downregulate pro-inflammatory cytokines; therefore, researchers have evaluated their effect in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Fish oil supplements, when added to traditional non-biologic triple therapy, can produce higher rates of remission and lower counts of tender joints.
To examine whether dietary fish intake also attenuates RA disease activity, investigators studied a subset of 176 RA patients from a larger cohort study. Participants were categorised by frequency of fish consumption (ranging from less than once monthly to twice weekly or more often and excluding fried fish, nonfried shellfish, and fish in mixed dishes). A single trained, blinded assessor evaluated disease activity scores (DAS) in 28 joints using DAS28-CRP scores (which reflect both clinical findings and C-reactive protein [CRP] levels).
Participants who ate fish more than twice weekly had significantly lower DAS28-CRP scores than those who ate fish less than once monthly. For each additional serving of fish weekly, DAS28-CRP was reduced significantly. Results were similar after adjusting for several demographic and clinical variables.