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Friday, March 30, 2007

Arthritis -- Fish Oil Still Fights Pain

In the 17th century, cod liver oil was quite different from its present form. Initially, it was produced by rotting cod livers, so it stunk and was black in color. Naturally it tasted yucky.

Despite that, people knew it to be good for health and they drank it as an all-purpose supplement though no one knew exactly how it worked.

By the 18th century, cod liver oil was produced by heating with steam. This resulted in a paler and better quality oil though it was still far from tasty and mothers had to force it down the throats of children, especially those who suffered from rickets.

In the 19th century, owners of The British Cod Liver Oil Producers (Hull) Ltd. found that some trawling companies operating in Hull, England, were using the sea boiling technique that produced a light golden brown oil that was far superior in quality, low in acidity, and had a bland taste. Kenneth McLennan, previously from Lever Brothers, came up with the idea of producing cod liver oil in tiny capsules and also came up with the name Seven Seas.

For Healthy Joints

The Eskimos have a reduced incidence of rheumatoid arthritis because of their fish-rich diet. The Japanese diet is also rich in fish, which may explain why they have fewer cases of arthritis compared to people of other countries.

Studies have shown that for patients with mild rheumatoid arthritis, fish oil supplements were able to reduce their nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug requirement.

Fish oil high in omega-3 fatty acids is crucial for adults suffering from arthritis and other bone-related problems. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the production of chemicals that cause inflammation of the joints.

In patients with arthritis, inflammation is like a jagged edged knife because the enzymes worsen the problem. Apart from reducing the production of chemicals that cause inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce the breakdown of cartilage.

Presently there are no drugs available to slow the progression of cartilage degradation. These joint problems cannot be cured, but with good management, a patient can lead an active life

Arthritis is a joint-disabling disease and one of the most common forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis. This degenerative joint disease is confined to local attacks in individuals.

It is basically the result of normal wear and tear on the joints with years of usage. Thus it occurs mostly in older individuals. Yet it doesn't just happen to older people. It is also likely to develop in joints that have taken a lot of punishment and abuse.

If you're overweight, for instance, your knee and hip joints are likely to be affected. Joints injured in an accident or sports, subjected to stresses at work or play, or joints with hidden birth defects are also more prone to developing osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, disabling disease of the immune system that triggers discomfort and swelling in nonspecific joints, nerves, muscles, tendons, blood vessels and connective tissue in the body. Rheumatoid arthritis can strike at any age, but mainly those between 25 and 40.

For some, it attacks only once in a lifetime. For others, it could be a long-term and progressive disease spreading from joint to joint and even resulting in limb deformities.

There is no cure for arthritis, only proper management and prevention. This includes watching your weight and doing light workouts like walking, swimming and cycling. Supplementing with cod liver oil will also help. The oil has been consumed for generations for alleviating the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis.

Scientists have confirmed what people have long believed about cod liver oil -- that it can slow down or even reverse the destruction of joint cartilage. The fatty acids in the oil switch off enzymes that break down cartilage.

Experiments have shown that by exposing human osteoarthritic cartilage to cod liver oil for 24 hours, it reverses the action of the degenerating enzymes and swelling affecting the joint's tissue.

Source: New Straits Times.

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