The scientific evidence behind cod liver oil benefits
belief that cod liver oil is good for the joints. The Cardiff-based
researchers say taking a cod-liver oil supplement could delay or
even reverse the damage done to joint cartilage and the
inflammatory pain caused by arthritis.
Scientists in Wales have new evidence confirming the long-held belief that cod liver oil is good for the joints, reports BBC Online.
The Cardiff-based researchers say taking a cod-liver oil supplement could delay or even reverse the damage done to joint cartilage and the inflammatory pain caused by arthritis. They have also suggested that it may even delay joint replacement surgery.
Severe arthritis causes significant disability for over three million people in the UK, and these are not all old people - one in 1,000 children suffers from arthritis too.
The condition can be life-threatening through its effect on other organs in the body and increased susceptibility to infection.
The research project was led by Professor Bruce Caterson of the School of Biomedicine at Cardiff University. He studied the effect of Omega-3 fatty acids, the main component of cod liver oil, on the discarded arthritic knees of people undergoing knee replacement surgery.
Only some of the participants were treated with Omega-3 fatty acids for 24 hours in a laboratory. Then a chemical was added to mimic an inflammatory response, and the samples examined four days later.
The team found that enzymes responsible for destroying cartilage in arthritis were present in the untreated group. But in those treated with Omega-3 fatty acids, these enzymes had not acted, nor had the enzymes which cause inflammation and pain in joints.
Professor Caterson said: "Cod liver oil, which contains Omega-3 fatty acids can be very very helpful and beneficial in arthritic diseases."
"In very simple terms, we've been able to show that we can slow down or remove the activities of the enzymes that degrade cartilage in arthritis, and as well, we can keep inflammation down to a lower level," he added.
Chief executive of the Arthritis Research Campaign Fergus Logan said: "These findings are extremely exciting, and offer a scientific basis for why cod liver oil helps people with arthritis - and has done for many years."
"It's an absolutely rational basis for taking it, rather than a 'hit and hope -my granny thought it might be good for me' approach to medicine which is not particularly well targeted," he explained.
He added: "We're delighted that something as simple and non-controversial as cod liver oil has the potential to bring relief and restore quality of life to so many people who suffer from osteoarthritis."
The Arthritis Research Campaign partly funded the Cardiff study.