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Using Omega-3 Oils for Your Pain


Using Omega-3 Oils for Your Pain

Omega oils are one of the most commonly used supplements for many medical conditions.

What are Omega Oils?

Omega oils are polyunsaturated fats and are divided into two types; Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. As our bodies do not produce Omega oils, we need to get them from the foods. Most people get more than enough Omega 6 oils from vegetable oil, salad dressing and mayonnaise. In fact, doctors recommend reducing consumption of Omega 6-rich foods and increasing consumption of Omega-3 foods. Fish oils are high in Omega-3 fatty acids and the best sources of Omega-3 are fatty fish, including cod, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Unfortunately, these same fish can also contain high levels of mercury. Concerns over toxin levels in fish and difficulty maintaining a diet rich in Omega-3 fish make Omega-3 supplements a viable option for many people.

How Effective are Omega-3 Oils?

The effectiveness of Omega-3 oils is well documented. Studies have shown that Omega-3 oils provide a modest to significant reduction in inflammation. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center published the results of a 2004 study of 250 patients treated with Omega-3 and found that 60% reported reduced pain. The researchers found that Omega-3 oil supplements were effective in reducing inflammation symptoms. Several other studies have confirmed that Omega-3 oil supplements are an effective alternative to NSAIDs and have fewer long-term effects.

How Much Should I Take?

Omega-3 oil supplements are normally taken in a liquid filled capsule, 1 to 3 grams a day, taken 2 to 3 times daily. The effectiveness of Omega-3 oils is due to Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA and EPA are the two major types of Omega-3 fatty acids and more widely studied for relief from joint stiffness, pain and inflammation. When choosing Omega-3 supplements, try to choose formulations that contain both EPA and DHA.

Omega-3 oils are effective, but they don’t provide fast acting relief. Up to six months of Omega-3 treatment may be required to experience some relief from joint pain symptoms.

Are There Risks and Side Effects?

Omega-3 oils have a low risk of side effects, but patients taking blood thinners or aspirin on a daily basis should first consult their doctor. Some people may experience mild gastrointestinal complaints.

Scientific References:

Maroon JC; Bost JW. Surgical Neurology. April 2006; Volume 65, Issue 4, Pages 326-331.

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