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Dietary n-3 fats as adjunctive therapy in a prototypic inflammatory disease: issues and obstacles for use in rheumatoid arthritis.

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Rheumatology Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, North Terrace, SA 5000, Adelaide, Australia.


Eicosanoids derived from the n-6 fatty acid, arachidonic acid, and the cytokines interleukin-1beta and tumour necrosis factor-alpha are involved in the signs and symptoms of inflammatory joint disease, as well as the cartilage degradation seen in established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Then n-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oil can inhibit production of both eicosanoid and cytokine inflammatory mediators and therefore, have the potential to modify RA pathology. Epidemiological studies suggest that fish intake may be preventive for RA and double-blind placebo-controlled studies demonstrate that dietary fish oil can alleviate the signs and symptoms of RA. The implementation of these findings will require among other things, a range of n-3 fat enriched foods, as well as physician awareness of the possibilities for dietary n-3 fat increases to be used as adjunctive therapy in RA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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