Fish Oil Effective for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Published: September 10, 2012

Although it is getting fairly obvious that infections play a role in CFS/FMS, standard medicine is just starting to become aware of the role of infections in rheumatoid arthritis—despite Holistic Physicians having used antibiotics effectively for rheumatoid arthritis for over 30 years. In fact, research in 1949, at the International Congress on Rheumatic Diseases, suggested a possible relationship between mycoplasma infection and joint disease. Thomas McPherson Brown, M.D. and his colleagues at the National Institutes of Health reported the following year that rheumatoid arthritis may be caused by an immunologic reaction caused by infections. Repeated research and clinical experience has shown the antibiotic minocycline (cost~ 20 cents a day) helps. Unfortunately, as is often the case with cheap therapies, this research was ignored. Today, most rheumatologists continue to ignore these inexpensive therapies, and give Humira (Enbrel) or Remicade at a cost of over $13,000 a year. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, consider adding minocycline and fish oil as well as other therapies discussed in my article, Natural Therapies for Arthritis.

In a recent study, taking a tablespoon of cod liver oil daily for 9 months resulted in people being able to significantly lower the dose of their NSAID medications (i.e., meds like motrin that kill over 16,500 Americans a year). The fish oil can be taken with your other arthritis medications as well, but I recommend other fish oils that are pure and mercury free .


In a 9-month, dual-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study involving 97 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), supplementation with 10 g/d cod liver oil (containing 2.2 g/d omega-3 fatty acids) was found to reduce the dosage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) required. In managing RA, the use of NSAIDs is often limited due to dose-dependent side effects, therefore, the authors set out to determine if cod liver oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids would exhibit NSAID-sparing properties. Results found that after 9 months, 39% of patients in the cod liver oil group reduced their daily use of NSAIDS by more than 30% reduction, compared to only 10% of patients in the placebo group. The authors conclude, "Fish oil supplementation should be considered in RA patients to help them reduce their NSAID intake in order to attenuate the risks of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular adverse events associated with these drugs."


"Cod liver oil (n-3 fatty acids) as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug sparing agent in rheumatoid arthritis," Galarraga B, Ho M, et al, Rheumatology, March 24 2008 [advance access published online]

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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