Long-term effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in active rheumatoid arthritis. A 12-month, double-blind, controlled study.

Geusens P, Wouters C, Nijs J, Jiang Y, Dequeker J.
Arthritis and Metabolic Bone Disease Research Unit, K. U. Leuven, U. Z. Pellenberg, Belgium.

OBJECTIVE. To study the long-term effects of supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids (omega 3) in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis.

METHODS. Ninety patients were enrolled in a 12-month, double-blind, randomized study comparing daily supplementations with either 2.6 gm of omega 3, or 1.3 gm of omega 3 + 3 gm of olive oil, or 6 gm of olive oil.

RESULTS. Significant improvement in the patient's global evaluation and in the physician's assessment of pain was observed only in those taking 2.6 gm/day of omega 3. The proportions of patients who improved and of those who were able to reduce their concomitant antirheumatic medications were significantly greater with 2.6 gm/day of omega 3.

CONCLUSION. Daily supplementation with 2.6 gm of omega 3 results in significant clinical benefit and may reduce the need for concomitant antirheumatic medication.